Wendy Garling will present The Woman Who Raised the Buddha the first full biography of Mahaprajapati Gautami in a wide ranging conversation with Vanessa R. Sasson, author Yasodhara and the Buddha.
"Mahaprajapati lived more than 2,500 years ago and resources that might shed light on her life are rare. I therefore commend Wendy Garling for her extensive research, putting pieces from multiple sources together with her personal reflections, to write her book The Woman Who Raised the Buddha." —from the foreword by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Mahaprajapati was the only mother the Buddha ever knew. His birth mother, Maya, died shortly after childbirth, and her sister Mahaprajapati took the infant to her breast, nurturing and raising him into adulthood. While there is a lot of ambiguity overall in the Buddha's biography, this detail remains consistent across all Buddhist traditions and literature.
In this first full biography of Mahaprajapati, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha presents her life story, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun. Drawing from story fragments and canonical records, Wendy Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati's role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men. Mother to the Buddha, mother to early Buddhist women, mother to the Buddhist faith, Mahaprajapati's journey is finally presented as one interwoven with the founding of Buddhism.
WENDY GARLING is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life (2016, Shambhala Publications), a groundbreaking new biography of the Buddha that relates his journey to awakening through the stories of Buddhism's first women. For many years Wendy has taught women's spirituality focusing on Buddhist traditions, while also pursuing original research into women's stories from ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature. As a freelance writer and editor, Wendy was on the editorial team at the Boston Women's Health Collective for the 2005 edition of Our Bodies Ourselves and several subsequent BWHC publications. She also wrote business articles for The Palladium Group, published through Harvard Business Publishing.
Vanessa R. Sasson is a professor of Religious Studies in the Liberal Arts Department of Marianopolis College where she has been teaching since 1999. She is also a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, as well as Research Member for CERIAS at UQAM. She has a long academic publishing record. Yasodhara and the Buddha is her first novel. She is currently working on the sequel.
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