Lady of the Lotus

Lady of the Lotus
William E. Barrett
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: O 87477 506 X

‘Lady of the Lotus’ is a tender and compelling read. Based in historical research with a fictional twist by the author’s imagination, it tells a tale of love, tragedy, seeking, finding, and finally liberation. 

41ZTsaAaU-L._AC_US160_.jpgWilliam Barrett is the besting novelist and author of The Lilies of the Field and The Left Hand of God. In this historical romantic drama which is subtitled, The Untold Love Story of the Buddha and His Wife he brings to light, in intimate detail, the spiritual journey of Yasodhara, the wife of Siddhartha, who becomes the Buddha. Barrett’s narrative elegantly and tenderly moves through the unfolding of her engagement and marriage and her inner process as she loses her husband to his search for enlightenment.

There are hundreds and hundreds of books on and about the Buddha. There are even hundreds written about his son. This book is perhaps the only attempt at discovering who Yasodhara was and her relationship to the Buddha’s unfolding quest. Barrett’s imagination and research not only gives body to her life but also creates a very human Siddhartha, who we know became one of the greatest Gurus and holy men the world has known.  In his introduction Barrett comments:

The story of Siddhartha, ultimately the Buddha, and Yasodhara, Princess of Koli, is one of the great romances of world history, a love story unlike any other. In doing the research, I have built a personal library of Buddhism-Hinduism-India-Nepal that total 430 volumes. I have talked to many Buddhist scholars, Buddhist monks, missionaries of other faiths in Buddhist countries. I have walked where Siddharta and Yasodhara walked, in Nepal and In India. I have followed the trails that led outward from the beginnings to Burma, Thailand, Japan, Malaya, Hong Kong. It is, in the telling, a story that I know well in lands that I know. I have had to build many intuitive bridges but I believe that the bridges are sound, that this is the story as it was.

This is a book of faith and transformation, not just for the Buddha, but for his whole family and for those who in the beginning loved him personally and along the way learned to love him for his spiritual genius as well.

 

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