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Lions Roar : November 2018
YASODHARA A Novel about the Buddha’s Wife By Vanessa R. Sasson Speaking Tiger Books 2018; 320 pp., $22.99 (paper) Yasodhara is steeped in scholar- ship, but it is also highly imagina- tive and emotive. Little is actually known about the historical (or perhaps legendary) Yasodhara, who was the Buddha’s wife. It’s said she was born at exactly the same time as Siddhartha and that they grew up to have quite a romantic courtship. One day, Siddhartha was distributing jewellery when he caught sight of Yasodhara and gave her the necklace around his neck. Quite audaciously, she asked, “Is that all I am worth?” He laughed and gave her his ring. Eventually, they married and had a child, Rahula. Yet one night, Siddhartha slipped away to pursue the spiritual path. Then seven years later, he came back to collect Rahula and train him as a monk. Yasodhara also chose to renounce lay life and went on to gain great realization. I’m grateful to Sasson for shining a light on this female icon of the Buddhist tradition. RADICALLY HAPPY A User’s Guide to the Mind By Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon Shambhala Publications 2018; 240 pp., $24.95 (cloth) They’re perennial questions: How do we find meaning in life? How do we find happiness? Now two fresh voices weigh in, Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon. Phakchok Rinpoche, born in 1981, was ordained by the Dalai Lama, while Solomon is a Silicon Valley technology entre- preneur and meditation teacher. In Radically Happy, they make the point that while Buddhism’s ultimate goal is enlightenment, basic contentment is its foundation. Without it, it’s impossible to flourish in life, let alone on the spiritual path. The authors take us through the different kinds and dimensions of happiness, and teach us that the key to happiness isn’t specific circumstances but rather how we relate to our experiences. But don’t despair if you’re not happy yet. “Happiness starts with unhappiness,” they assert, and we can learn, moment-by-moment, to transform the way we relate to our world. This book is a varied collection of personal anecdotes, cutting-edge science, and practical exercises. the village zendo year-end retreat with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara Garrison Institute, New York half retreat: December 26th – 29th, 2018 full retreat: December 26th, 2018– January 1st, 2019 A spacious and quiet Zen retreat with meditation, daily dharma talks, interview with Village Zendo teachers, and time to rest and walk along the Hudson River. For more information, please visit www.villagezendo.org LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 79