March 13, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100
170 St George St
From the author of Yasodhara: A Novel about the Buddha’s Wife (2018), please join us for a free public lecture and discussion with author Vanessa Sasson. Reserve your tickets at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/writing-a-buddhist-lovestory-vanessa-sasson-presents-her-novel-yasodhara-tickets-56858931595
The lecture and discussion are free and open to the public and are hosted by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto.
Publisher’s Summary of Yasodhara
A long time ago, in a far-off kingdom, a boy and a girl, born on the same day, were destined to be together—and then painfully wrenched apart. The boy was Siddhattha, heir to the Sakya kingdom and the future Buddha; the girl was the beautiful and precocious Yasodhara, his friend who became his loving wife.
In this exquisitely crafted narrative, we encounter Yasodhara as a fiercely independent, passionate and resilient individual. We witness her joys and sorrows, her expectations and frustrations, her fairy-tale wedding, and her overwhelming devastation at the departure of her beloved.
It is through her eyes that we witness Siddhattha’s slow transformation, from a sheltered prince to a deeply sensitive young man. On the way, we see how the gods watch over the future Buddha from the clouds, how the king and his ministers try to keep the suffering of the world from him and how he eventually renounces the throne, his wife and newly-born son to seek enlightenment.
Resurrecting a forgotten woman from the origin stories of the Buddha, Vanessa R. Sasson combines the spirit of fiction and the fabulism of Indian mythology with impeccable scholarship, to tell the evocative and deeply moving story of an extraordinary life.
Profile of Vanessa Sasson
Vanessa R. Sasson is a professor of Religious Studies in the Liberal and Creative Arts and Humanities Department at Marianopolis College, Quebec. She is also a Research Fellow for the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State in South Africa, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University, Montreal. As a scholar, her focus is on Buddhist studies, with particular emphasis on hagiography, gender and childhoods.
Vanessa’s published books include The Birth of Moses and the Buddha: A Paradigm for the Comparative Study of Religions, and the edited volumes Little Buddhas: Children and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions and Imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion and Culture.