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Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Discuss the February 2017 Book of the Month, The Diary of an Immortal by David J Castello.

Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#1 by MarisaRose
» 03 Feb 2017, 08:41

Religion plays a big role in Castello's "The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959)." The author especially focuses on Buddhism with the characters Chang Sou and Chow Li. We learn that Buddhist principles do not condone the taking of a life for any circumstance. In the story, Chow Li befriends Steven and wants help taking down Chang Sou, the antagonist of the story who is using his immortality and subsequent powers for bad. Do you think, given the Buddhist principles that guide Chow Li, it is right for him to ask this of Steven? Just because Chow Li is not taking a life himself, is it okay that he asks another to do it?

More generally, what are your thoughts on Buddhism? Did you enjoy the use of the religion through out the story? :tiphat:
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#2 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 03 Feb 2017, 09:06

I enjoyed reading more about Buddhism. This religion is something I have heard of, but don't know a lot about. I love learning about other perspectives, so while I might not agree with everything in the religion, it is fascinating.
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#3 by MarisaRose
» 03 Feb 2017, 09:12

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:I enjoyed reading more about Buddhism. This religion is something I have heard of, but don't know a lot about. I love learning about other perspectives, so while I might not agree with everything in the religion, it is fascinating.


I agree! I thought the author did a good job introducing and explaining certain aspects of the religion. It was an interesting addition to the story and I definitely learned some new things.
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#4 by hsimone
» 07 Feb 2017, 13:32

I think since Steven wanted to get rid of Chang Sou anyway, it was fine for Chow Li to ask for help. But, to be honest, if Chow Li had the power to stop Chang Sou, then he should have done it even before Steven entered the picture, considering religion or not. Chang Sou committed atrocious crimes and acts that clearly wasn't something that Chow Li agreed with, but he just turned away and that's not right.

I've also heard of Buddhism, but don't know much about it. It was nice reading about something new and learning a bit. To be honest, I'm not sure how much I retained since my religion (Catholic) is so ingrained in my head, but it was a nice, brief exposure.
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#5 by mratdegraff91
» 07 Feb 2017, 18:31

I have read a little about Buddhism, and it is wrong to harm others. When Chow Li asked this of Steven, I do believe that it was for the best but also that it technically violated his beliefs in doing so. I would have to pull my books back out to double check, but they are packed up somewhere.

I did enjoy reading more on it with this novel. It is portrayed in this story differently than others I have read. It follows the basic beliefs of Buddhism more than most other novels.
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#6 by Mark Johnson
» 09 Feb 2017, 04:05

We learn that Buddhist principles do not condone the taking of a life for any circumstance. In the story, Chow Li befriends Steven and wants help taking down Chang Sou, the antagonist of the story who is using his immortality and subsequent powers for bad. Do you think, given the Buddhist principles that guide Chow Li, it is right for him to ask this of Steven? Just because Chow Li is not taking a life himself, is it okay that he asks another to do it?


I think it is wrong for him to ask another to do it. What's the quality of his heart? It's still the same if he does the action or someone else does the action for him. The hatred/motive is still there regardless. As a Christian I am learning that the teachings of Buddhism are closer to our ways than we realize. In this case we would say, "Thou shall not kill." Obviously we are miles apart on certain theological points, but there are some similarities that are pretty interesting. For instance, how we deal with people in our daily lives are not so far apart.
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Re: Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

Post Number:#7 by Lest92
» 09 Feb 2017, 06:43

Buddhism is a thinking religion - I knew one at university and we had long discussions about the philosophies of Buddhism, and strangely enough the topic of killing things. The thing is, killing anything is unavoidable - even if you don't kill animals for their flesh, you do kill plants and their bugs and parasites when you harvest them. It's the intention of the killing that matters, I think - murder/genocide is obviously immoral, but euthanasia for those who suffer makes sense because suffering is an intolerable existence, not life.
So, I don't think killing the antagonist is wrong if it prevents harm to others - it's like healing a sickness.
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