Main CategoriesBuddha and BuddhismSouthern Buddhism Light of Asia, The

Light of Asia, The

Product no.: 978-0835604055
Sir Edwin Arnold published The Light of Asia in 1879, and for the first time the story of the Buddha and his teachings were made accessible to audiences in Europe and America.

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Publisher's Synopsis
It was a huge success, and probably did more to introduce Buddhism to the West than any other single publication before or since. Though the style is somewhat dated and the tone decidedly Biblical, there is still much power and beauty in Arnold’s portrayal of the Buddha’s quest for awakening.

In this poetic masterpiece, Edwin Arnold describes the life and teachings of Buddha. The man who was to become known as Buddha to the world was born as Prince Gautama of India but he rejected the worldly riches and abandoned the reigns of power when he embarked on a journey to discover the meaning of life. This poem reveals Buddha's life from the Buddhist perspective but you don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate this poetic work. As you read about Buddha's journey you will embark on your own course of discovery. You will start to better understand how hundreds of millions of Buddha's followers view the world, and how his life still impacts you today.

Reviews
"The fruits of an earnest study of Oriental literature and of a personal residence of several years in India are embodied in this stately poetical romance. From the dim and shadowy legends of the princely founder of the great religion of the East, scanty and uncertain as they prove to be under the hand of critical research, Mr. Arnold has constructed a poem, which for affluence of imagination, splendor of diction, and virile descriptive power, will not be easily matched among the most remarkable productions in the literature of the day."       ~New York Tribune, 1879

"It is a work of great beauty, it tells a story of intense interest which never flags for a moment. Its descriptions are drawn by the hand of the master with the eye of a poet. Its tone is so lofty that there is nothing with which to compare it but the New Testament. It is full of variety—now picturesque, now pathetic, now rising in the noblest realms of thought and aspiration."      ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Excerpt
"If he shall day by day dwell merciful,
Holy and just and kind and true; and rend
Desire from where it clings with bleeding roots,
Till love of life have end:

He—dying—leaveth as the sum of him
A life-count closed, whose ills are dead and quit
Whose good is quick and mighty, far and near,
So that fruits follow it.

No need hath such to live as ye name life;
That which began in him when he began
Is finished: he hath wrought the purpose through
Of what did make him Man.

Never shall yearnings torture him, nor sins
Stain him, nor ache of earthly joys and woes
Invade his safe eternal peace; nor deaths
And lives recur. He goes

Unto NIRVÂNA. He is one with Life,
Yet lives not. He is blest, ceasing to be.
OM, MANI PADME, OM! the Dewdrop slips
Into the shining sea…"

"More than a third of mankind, therefore, owe their moral and religious ideas to this illustrious Prince, whose personality, though imperfectly revealed in the existing sources of information, cannot but appear the highest, gentlest, holiest, and most beneficent, with one exception, in the history of Thought."    

Biography
Sir Edwin Arnold, (born June 10, 1832, Gravesend, Kent, Eng.—died March 24, 1904, London), poet and journalist, best known as the author of The Light of Asia (1879), an epic poem in an elaborately Tennysonian blank verse that describes, through the mouth of an “imaginary Buddhist votary,” the life and teachings of the Buddha. Pearls of the Faith (1883), on Islam, and The Light of the World (1891), on Christianity, were less successful.

Author Arnold, Sir Edwin
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 166 pp.
Publisher Theosophical Publishing House 1969
Browse these categories as well: Southern Buddhism, Western Buddhism, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Inspirational Poetry, Prose and Sacred Art

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