In your analysis, you should do more than just point out some differences between these versions. Instead, you should focus on trying to figure out why those differences are present. In particular, I want you to pay attention to the culture and audience for which the text was originally written. Ask questions like:
Why is the Buddha portrayed differently in these different stories?
Did the people creating these accounts have different goals in mind? Why might their goals have differed?
In what ways does the social and cultural context in which a religious biography is produced shape the story?
Why might Tenzin Chogyel emphasize different aspects of the Buddhas life than an author writing in a different time or place.
(Note that you do not need to address these specific questions, they are just ideas to get you thinking in the right way.)
One of the two biographies that you compare should be Tenzin Chgyels Life of the Buddha that we read in class. You may select the other from this list. Do not just pick the first book that comes to mind. Look through the list and select a version of the Buddhas biography that is particularly interesting to you. You are not expected to do outside research beyond reading the two biographies, though you may do so if you wish.
The final paper should conform to normal academic standards, including: 12 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins. Please make sure you cite your sources and include a bibliography (I prefer Chicago style, but if you prefer MLA that is acceptable as well). And you should definitely make sure you have a title.
Beyond these technical aspects, it is almost always best for you to follow traditional academic essay structure. This means that your essay should have an opening paragraph, with a clear thesis at the end of that opening paragraph (not somewhere else!) Then several paragraphs in the body, each of which makes a clear point in support of your overall thesis and each of which backs up that point with evidence. Finally, your paper should have a conclusion in which you recap the arguments made over the course of the paper, restating your thesis in the process.
You may find this structure constraining, or feel that you can do something more creative. Most of the time, however, attempts to modify this essay structure are not effective, so while I want you to be creative, I also want to encourage you to stick to this traditional format. If you feel like you have a really great idea for a paper organized in a different way, please feel free to write to me and explain your idea.
All the work you do for this class (or any class, for that matter) needs to cite your sources. Please review Citation Styles before beginning your paper to make sure you understand the process.