“I can honestly say that prior to this book, I did not know much about Buddha, but this book allowed my eyes to be opened and my mind to see and comprehend so much more than I would have ever known in the past. One of the things that was so unique with this book was that it was written in graphic novel form and thus is geared toward the younger reader. I found it to be an enjoyable read and one that will definitely allow for so many to experience and understand the trials that Buddha endured and what he stood for and what the religion stands for today.
If you have an interest in learning more about Buddha or Buddhism, I would recommend this book!”
– the Blog “Dad of Divas” –
“Anyone with an interest in spirituality will benefit from understanding that Buddhism originated not out of magical thin air, but in the personal quest of one flesh-and-blood human being. The manga format of “The Story of Buddha” provides a uniquely entertaining and approachable introduction to the historical figure whose search for the meaning of life changed the lives of billions, and remains uniquely relevant today.”
– “FutureImage.com,” Alexis Gerard –
“The Story of the Buddha is a one volume abridgement of the 9 volume b&w manga classic story of the historical Buddha’s life as it interweaves with a number of fantasy characters unrelated to historical or traditional characters. In this one volume version just the portions dealing with some of the classic stories of the Buddhas’s life and teachings are reproduced. As an introduction to some of the main features of the historical Buddhas’s life and legend this comic book offers the outlines of a Mahayana version of the Buddhas’s career.”
– Wordtrade.com, William Lee –
“The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography outlines the life of Buddhism’s founder, the young prince Siddhartha. The story covers Siddhartha’s life from the age of nineteen to his death at the age of eighty. The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography is first non-fiction biography of this great religious and historic figure told in manga form. The manga is at once informative, philosophical, and yet entertaining. You can learn much from the informative segments, but the entertainment value of The Story of Buddha is drawn from the dramatic dialogue between Siddhartha and those around him as they attempt to understand his discontentment with life.
Siddhartha was born into a royal family living in what is now India. He was the next in line for the throne, wealthy, handsome, intelligent, skilled in martial arts, and married to the most beautiful woman in the land. The one thing that Siddhartha did not possess was the one thing he wanted most: to understand the meaning of life. He realized no matter a person’s status, they would be subject to suffering and death. Eventually his quest for meaning led him to live the life of an ascetic one who leaves their home to live in the wilderness, seeking spiritual enlightenment.
The teachings of Buddha, taken from the many sermons he gave during his lifetime, are an inspiration to people worldwide. The Story of Buddha explores how the prince Siddhartha became the religious icon, Buddha. Although the story takes place two thousand, six hundred years ago, the problems Siddhartha addressed are still relevant today. Many people look at their lives and wonder why they are alive at all the same question that propelled Siddhartha on his journey. In the graphic biography, the concerns and questions are brought to life through real situations and philosophical conflicts. These conflicts occur not only between other characters and Siddhartha, but also within himself.
The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography, as a manga, is quite engaging. The story is told in an insightful, informative, and entertaining fashion. Along with the biographical information related through narration, the characters are established through their dialogue and interactions with one another. As a reader engaged with these characters, you find yourself torn. On one hand you know that Siddhartha must take the journey to become Buddha, but on the other, you grow fond of his family and friends. You feel compassion for them as they struggle to understand and cope with his decision.
– Filmmonthy.com, Amber Burnham –
“Finally, someone has put together a manga (graphic novel) based on the history of Buddha. It’s been done for The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Master Je Tsongkhapa and author Stephan Asma wrote and illustrated a book called “Buddha, A Beginners Guide” which was comic like, but it was done in more of a humorous way than “The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography”, which is more true to the roots of this style of novel.
“The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography”, is much more of a traditional Japanese styled manga, meticulous, clean and quite moving. The illustrations are striking and express emotion without even needing to read the words, but it is important obviously that you do read them. The story line, which most of all know by now, puts a little more emphasis on his life in the palace and the struggles he goes through in understanding, or trying to understand, what life is truly about. His struggles were immense, but through rigorous training of the mind and body, the Buddha did achieve true happiness from suffering.
The novel is written well enough that intermediate readers to adult readers will not only enjoy, but devour in a timely fashion. I truly enjoyed reading “The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography” and would recommend it highly not only to those who are new to Buddhist thought and practice, but to those that already have a working knowledge of Buddhism. Hats off to Hisashi Ota for accepting the challenge to tackle such a project, and praise to him for being successful in doing so.”
– “Precious Metal: the blog,” Nate DeMontigny –
“The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography is a faithful manga (Japanese graphic novel) adaptation of the early life and adulthood of the Buddha, as reconstructed from history and Buddhist records. The primary focus of the storytelling is upon Buddha’s life leading up to his enlightenment. Twenty-five years ago, the young man who would one day found Buddhism was a wealthy and powerful prince, who had access to all the food, women, and frivolities a man could desire; yet he was endlessly beset by troubled thoughts. He observed that no amount of wealth or power could protect men and women from suffering, old age, and death; he questioned what could be the purpose of life when its destination seemed invariably bleak. Thus he undertook a personal quest to find meaning, and answers to the questions that plagued him; he began by adopting the life of an ascetic, and nearly starved himself to death in his pursuit of enlightenment. Eventually he discerned that self-deprivation to the point of near-death was not the answer… and when enlightenment finally came, he resolved to share what he had learned with the world. “Poor and rich, old and young, male and female. All without exception suffer in pursuit of money and possessions. If they have no land or house, they suffer to gain them. If they have them, they suffer to maintain them… Where is the root of suffering? It lies in your own darkness of mind.” The Story of Buddha is extremely accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and enthusiastically recommended especially for high school and public library graphic novel collections.”
Story of Buddha drawn in Japanese manga comic style
Money, power, and beautiful women, three desires of countless men throughout the ages. Imagine a man who has all three. A charmed life indeed, promising years of comfort and pleasure, yet he finds nothing but emptiness. He rejects this life to pursue one of meaning and purpose, and after great struggle, he finds true happiness and enlightenment. Of course, this is the story of no ordinary man, but that of Buddha, the legendary spiritual leader whose teachings have been passed on for thousands of years.
In The Story of Buddha A Graphic Biography (Ichimannendo Publishing, Inc., $10.95) Hisashi Ota tells of Buddha’s life through manga (Japanese comics) in a 248-page softcover book filled with comic panels. Focusing on Buddha’s transformation from the wealthy Prince Siddhartha to a spiritual teacher, I found myself drawn into a world paralleling modern day pressures: opportunities to escape reality and the expectation to live a typical life set by societal norms.
I enjoyed following the story through the expressive faces of the author’s characters, and I especially felt Siddhartha’s struggle to stay true to his own chosen path of life. Chapters end with Siddhartha’s insights, seeds that later blossom into the tenets of Buddhism. It was engaging to learn about Buddhism through the progressive rhythm of a narrative story with stylized visuals instead of a dry historic text.
Ota poured feeling, action, and passion into each page. The story felt like a mirror to reflect up on modern life. Ota’s book pulses in the present, not the historic past, introducing Buddha’s teachings to audiences new and old, perhaps inspiring others to find joy and meaning in life.
I found Ota’s manga approach to Buddha’s story appealing because of the art form’s cinematic visual style. Ota, a graduate of Nagoya University’s School of Science, has been drawing manga for 20 years and his manga about Buddhism in Japan has been published regularly.
– Luxury Travel Review –
The Story Of Buddha: A Graphic Biography (Ichimannendo Publishing) by Hisashi Ota is believed to be the first book on the life story of Buddha and his teachings in Manga – a revered practice by the Japanese of using comics for explanation and illustration.
When the Buddha was a young man he was called Siddhartha and he dealt with similar struggles that we have today. He was born as a crown prince and was blessed by having an extremely beautiful wife. He had it all – money, fame, position, wealth…there was nothing he needed yet even with all of his possessions he was not totally happy. He felt there was something missing in his life and he wondered how there could be meaning in the same routine day after day.
That is when he went in search of happiness…and a search for answers to the age-old question, “what is the meaning of life?” began. Little did this dissatisfied prince from the foothills of the Himalayas know that 2,600 years later he would be considered one of the world’s greatest sources of religious inspiration!
Hisashi Ota, the author of this remarkable book, was born in Japan and graduated from Nagoya University’s School of Science.
For more information, please visit: www.i-ipi.com.