A Buddha For Us

Searching for answers

Barbara Stewart

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An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World
Pankaj Mishra
New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004
442 pp.; $25 (cloth)

Who was the Buddha? Who was the man who left such a promising life to search for something as impossible as an end to pain? What would it have been like to reach that point—an end to suffering, a life beyond craving?

Twelve years ago, Pankaj Mishra set out to answer those questions. The quest led him from Marx and Nietzsche to a Zen retreat in California to a Muslim convention in Afghanistan sponsored by Osama bin Laden, and it involved reading a small library of philosophy and history.

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