Short Book Review: Old Paths White Clouds by Nhất Hạnh Thích
SBR: The book Old Paths White Clouds is a confusing experience. With a subtitle like Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, you would think it is some kind of travelogue through Buddhist landmarks, but it is not so. It is categorized on the cover as a Biography. What I found it really to be was a work of historical fiction based on the life of Buddha. But unlike regular historical fiction, it makes no attempts at making the story relatable and interesting. It consists of one sermon after the other, punctuated by some miracles and is full of unbelievably devout people. It is supposed to be read as the biography of Buddha by those who already believe in the current Buddhist lore or have a predisposition towards it. Not surprisingly the book bored me to the hilt. But I read it through the end because I was trying to learn more about Buddha at that point of time and it is a good collection of stories that Buddhist tradition believes about him.
To read or not to read: If you have religious or Buddhist inclinations, go ahead. If you have academic interest in Buddhism, it is a good resource. Otherwise spare yourself.