The Little Buddha: Summary
Of late, I have been thinking about reading Bhagwat Gita as a first-hand experience of reading something quite different from my current technical reads. So while searching for similar books in this domain I came across “The Little Buddha: Finding Happiness” by Claus Milkosch. I decided to give it a shot provided it was a shorter read than the rest.
As I turned the first page it started with “Once upon a time, there was a simple Buddha who lived in a faraway land…………….”. It got me excited as it’s been quite a long time since I saw such a simple introduction to prose without any abstract thought to it. It had the most direct entry to the novel as we used to have in the school storybooks.
The Little Buddha is a simple read but filled with a lot of realizations and lucidity about the experiences of life. A perfect weekend read on a rainy afternoon. It all started with Buddha’s holiday trip to the unknown to get rid of his lonely life. He meets a bunch of people throughout his journey who have their own share of happiness and tribulations like the young widow who leaves her place to find some meaning in her life. She lost her husband which brought to her a lot of unnecessary difficulties over sadness and hence this step towards a new life.
Although the book has a lot of experiences, a few of them stuck with me and I will give a small glimpse of those in the next part of the blog.
The first interesting story revolves around a professor who repeatedly mocked the ship crew members who were on a trip with him for not understanding Geography, Mathematics and Biology. He referred to them as the most useless being’s on the Earth for not possessing those skills, overlooking the fact that the professor himself did not know a lot about the world. The ship then catches a big storm in which the entire crew survived but the professor couldn’t as it did not know to swim. If he had shown some interest, then maybe one of the sailors would have taught him the science of swimming. But the professor hadn’t been prepared to learn; he only wanted to teach.
Every person usually learns exactly what he or she needs for a particular life situation — special knowledge that is needed for survival. Knowledge is relative. How you receive it always depends on the situation. All you have to do is approach the new situation with an open mind.
The blind witch’s nuggets of wisdom were the highlight of the book. The witch was in her fifties, blind and lived in a cave. She is known for solving problems of the people in the old town, about which when asked she replies “I try to make the person understand that they have to accept their problems. This is the most important thing, because only when you accept a problem will you be able to let go of it at some point. I try to encourage everybody to stop ignoring or fighting the problem. If you ignore a problem it becomes bigger because it starts to scream for attention. If you fight it, it will fight back. So you have to accept it if you ever want to get rid of it. Once the problem is free to move about, space is created for a new experience.”
She narrates a story :
Once upon a time, there was an old man who was teaching his grandchildren about life. He spoke to them. ‘Deep inside of me there is a fight, a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents all bad things — fear, envy, anger, arrogance, greed, lies, ignorance, guilt, inferiority and ego. The other represents all good things — joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, friendship, compassion, generosity, truth and faith.’ He continued. ‘The same fight exists deep inside you too, just as it does in every other person in the world.’ The grandchildren thought about his words, and after a little while, one of them had a question for the grandfather. ‘So, which wolf is going to win?’ The old man answered calmly. ‘The one you feed.’
In life, you only ever see what you want to see.
The happy baker story about how she perceived happiness in her life was another interesting story. She ran a small bakery with decent earnings where her staff served delicious pieces of bread. She prepared the bread all by herself in the morning and then he comfortably sat outside on her bench reading a book or meeting new people for the rest of the day. She was once offered a deal to expand her store all over and make a bigger business so that she can earn a lot of money and property and then sit peacefully on the bench and read a book. She laughed.
How easy it was to make life complicated. And how difficult it could be to simply be happy!
This book is a book good start for teens of course, however, a reader of any age will relate to the prose and make their lives even better. Simple prose can also be a nice refreshment to your hectic life schedule.
Originally published at https://manpabarman.medium.com on March 11, 2022. That account is no longer active.