Epic Of The Buddha
A twentieth-century account of the life of the Buddha, presented in a fascinating form, with an incredible story behind it.
This book contains the English translation of "The Sweet Fragrance of the Buddha," a beautiful, devotional epic poem that portrays the major events in the Buddha's life from birth to death. Chittadhar Hrdaya, a master poet from Nepal, wrote it while in prison in the 1940s, smuggling it out over time on pieces of paper. Hrdaya's verses create a sense of a magical environment in which clouds, trees, flowers, and the buzzing of bees all reflect and evoke the full range of emotions, from erotic love to anger to heroism to compassion and peace, experienced by the young prince Siddhartha, as well as by his father, mother, wife, and son. By showing how the central events of the Buddha's life are experienced from different people's viewpoints, the poem communicates a fuller and deeper sense of the humanity of everyone involved and the depth of the Buddha's loving-kindness for all beings. This English translation captures the beauty and flow of the original, and the volume supplements the translation with short essays that both explain the Indic poetry conventions that Hrdaya employed and provide the political backstory behind the author's imprisonment.
CHITTADHAR HRDAYA (1906-1982) was one of twentieth-century Nepal's most eminent writers. Born into a Newar family in Kathmandu, he devoted his life to writing in in his native language of Nepal Bhasa (also called "Newari"). While imprisoned for publishing a poem that was regarded as subversive by the Nepalese government, he composed this epic poem about the life of the Buddha, smuggling it out on scraps of paper hidden in a tin box. TODD T. LEWIS is Professor of Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross.