A New York Times Notable Book
An End to Suffering is a provocative book about the Buddha's life and his influence throughout history, told in the form of the author's search to understand the Buddha's relevance in a world where class oppression and religious violence are rife, and where poverty and terrorism cast a long, constant shadow.
Pankaj Mishra describes his restless journeys into India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among Islamists and the emerging Hindu middle class, searching for traces of the Buddha, that most enigmatic of religious figures, while also seeking out the stories and places that defined the Buddha's life. Mishra also discusses Western explorers' "discovery" of Buddhism in the nineteenth century and considers the impact of Buddhist ideas on such modern politicians as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
As he reflects on his travels and on his own past, Mishra shows how the Buddha wrestled with problems of personal identity, alienation, and suffering in his own, no less bewildering times. In the process, Mishra discovers the living meaning of the Buddha's teaching, in the world and for himself.