g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Buddhism Site

BellaOnline's Buddhism Editor


Buddha by Joan Lebold Cohen ~ A Review

Guest Author - Samten Tsomo

As I was browsing through the library I came across this book. I opened it and started reading the first few pages and found myself drawn into the story unwilling to put the book down. About twenty pages in I forced myself to put it down or risk being late meeting a friend for lunch.

The author did a great job retelling the story of the Buddha’s early years through his final show down with Mara and his attainment of enlightenment. It wasn’t until the story reached the point of the Buddha’s first teaching that I became uncomfortable. Here the Author describes the Four Noble Truths differently then I have would have expect anyone writing a children’s about the Buddha’s life to. She has the first noble truth as “All life is suffering.” Sadly, it’s such wording that leads to confusion among people who know little if nothing about Buddhism.

The author talks about the second Noble Truth in a way that plays down the importance of the individual of the individual as a worthy person. While I understood what I think the author is trying to say here: “…the fact is, a person is like the smallest grain of sand at the bottom of the ocean. A person is unimportant in the vast cycle of recurring births of man and the universe.” I feel the wording is inappropriate in a book aimed at children and young teens. For a young person dealing with the harsh day to day reality of growing up and puberty, to read such a thing presented as fact could be damaging, and frankly, dangerous. I can think of many ways to explain the vastness of the universe and beginning-less time without confusing them. The truth is that each and every one of us needs to work towards making this world a better place to live. One person really can make a difference.

Towards the end of the book I noticed the tone of the book seemed to shift. There were several references of people coming to the Buddha seeking forgiveness, seeking out converts by demeaning other belief systems instead of the Buddha giving teachings on the questions at hand and a somewhat constant and annoying reference to sin and damnation.

I would not give this book to my child as a guide to Buddhism because I think it would confuse him and send the wrong message. If it came down to him wanting to read it, I would have to keep this book in reserve for a time when my child was old enough to understand that not every book he reads will be 100% accurate. Before giving him the book I would go through and highlight the passages that I do not agree with. I would use those passages as opportunities to talk with him and explain how a change in a word can completely change the context and accuracy.
Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Twitter Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Facebook Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to MySpace Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Digg Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Yahoo My Web Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Google Bookmarks Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Stumbleupon Add Buddha+by+Joan+Lebold+Cohen+%7E+A+Review to Reddit

RSS | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Buddhism Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Samten Tsomo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Samten Tsomo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Erickson for details.


g features
2015 Buddhist Holidays

That Bird Has My Wings - Book Review

Test Your Buddhist Knowledge

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor