Monday, July 10, 2006
The summer 2006 issue of Multicultural Review features a review of Becoming Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha by Whitney Stewart.
space From the outset, the reader is in a different world. The novel physical orientation of the text and illustrations on the page immediately evoke the world of unbound texts, the pechas found in the ancient libraries of the East. Indeed, the rich, colorful detail and plot turns are sure to capture the interest of the juvenile reader. Although simplified, the tale is a historically accurate retelling of how the boy Siddhartha abandoned his royal upbringing and wealth to become the Buddha, seeking to end for all the suffering inherent to life. The basic Buddhist tenet of the Four Noble Truths, at the heart of recognizing and dealing with all suffering, is a concept that adults might grapple with. Yet Stewart successfully presents suffering in a way both appropriate for preadolescents and comprehensible to their experience. Importantly, the presentation empowers young readers with something they, like the Buddha, might do to develop compassion for others and alleviate suffering. It is no mere courtesy that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has participated in this book, bracketing the story with a substantial introduction, then simple instruction on how to meditate, written -- even with humor -- for the young reader. As His Holiness says in the introduction, rather than attempting to increase the number of Buddhists, this book shows a way everyone might pursue to contribute to global peace and the increase of happiness.
space Kudos to illustrator [Sally] Rippin, whose imagination contributes substantially to the fabric of the exotic Eastern world woven in the story.
spaceistheplace--Rinchen Yutso in Prospect Harbor, ME