Buddhism in "Diary of an Immortal"

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

Post 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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Post 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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Post 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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Post 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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Post 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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Post 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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Post 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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Post by Pilar Guerrero » 26 Mar 2017, 23:21

I think that the perspective on Buddhism in the novel has to do with how strong can the characters hold to the principles, and I think each one of them, Steven and Chow Li follow their own principles. On the other hand, I think the novel is portraying the role of fate or destiny, these things had been written and now it was the time for them to take place. It is interesting, though, how the author incorporates the topic of religion or no religion in his novel, it makes us think about what is right and what is not. Like this question.
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Post by ananya92 » 29 Mar 2017, 11:03

Buddhism is more than just a religion; it is more like a way of life. It's not an organized or structured religion like others, though there are various sects/schools like Mahayana or Zen buddhism. When Buddhism talks of taking a life, the idea is to promote non-violence, to promote peace. This idea also formed the foundation of 'Ahimsa', an ideology propounded much later by Mahatma Gandhi. Many kings in India practiced Buddhism; it didn't mean they stopped fighting wars, they tried for peace and negotiation first.

Coming to this book, it gives an interesting perspective on Buddhism. Where the intention is to prevent further loss of lives, violence may be an option. I liked how the author explored this dilemma. However, it did seem wrong at certain level to ask Steven to do something, that Chow Li himself wasn't prepared to do. Also, violence should only be resorted to when all options or recourses to peace have failed (this is my understanding of Buddhist idea of non-violence).

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Post by MaricelBaby » 01 Apr 2017, 02:17

I'm fun of reading world religions and one of which is Buddhism. If your action condone now your religion of if it speaks for your belief system then so be it. Why should I contradict it? It's very enticing.

-- 01 Apr 2017, 02:20 --

I'm fun of reading world religions and one of which is Buddhism. If your action condone now your religion of if it speaks for your belief system then so be it. Why should I contradict it? It's very enticing.

-- 01 Apr 2017, 02:32 --

I'm fun of reading world religions and one of which is Buddhism. If your action condone now your religion of if it speaks for your belief system then so be it. Why should I contradict it? It's very enticing.

-- 01 Apr 2017, 02:32 --

I'm fun of reading world religions and one of which is Buddhism. If your action condone now your religion of if it speaks for your belief system then so be it. Why should I contradict it? It's very enticing.

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Post by Spirit Wandering » 12 Apr 2017, 19:57

Lest92 wrote: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.
You make a good point that we have to kill in order to feed ourselves-whether our food is animal or plant based. I think that we have forgotten this basic truth significantly contributes to a lot of our ecological problems. What we do to the plant and animal kingdoms ultimately reverberates back to ourselves. In terms of Buddhist principles, respect to all forms of life would seem to apply.
Interested in books that help one's spirit move beyond the ordinary.

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Post by ilovechickens777 » 30 Apr 2017, 17:37

Yah, I agree. I actually was quite surprised about the Buddism that was put into the novel. I think it was interesting to see how it was put in, but some parts of the book I found I did not agree with. Very interesting though.
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Post by Lovely Eimeren » 01 May 2017, 02:02

The highest feeling that one can achieve here on earth is "detachment" when talking about Buddhism. So I think it's not okay that he is taking a life whether or not he is the one who will do it.
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Post by Tovia_George » 09 Jun 2017, 06:37

MarisaRose wrote: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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Post by japp30 » 06 Jul 2017, 04:43

i will learn what is bussism deeply, i have always been curious of that religion

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