Book Review: Prajapati
About This Resource
The story of Prajapati is abundant with conversation starters for children. Alicja Zmigrodzka’s beautifully illustrated version is available in print and ebook format from the Dharma Kids Collective. The story follows the passing of Siddhartha’s mother, Prajapati’s sister, and how Prajapati adopted Siddhartha as her own child. Children can learn about how everyone’s story can be seen through a different point of view—we often forget how sad it must have been for the king and queen and Siddhartha’s wife and child to wake up and find that he was gone. How worried they must have been. When he returns to the palace 13 years later, Prajapati is so inspired by his teachings that she becomes a devotee, a practitioner, and a teacher. She is avant-garde in creating pathways for women to practice and teach dharma. Children of all ages respond to the imagery and the power of this story and it became an instant favorite at the Middle Way School.
“We owe so much to Prajapati. In raising and nurturing Siddhartha to become a noble, healthy and majestic prince, Prajapati gifted us with a human being who showed us that, as long as we are human, we can be liberated from all bondage.
But Prajapati matters to us not only because she reared the future Buddha but because of her own courage, vision and leadership as a woman and a student, a truth-seeker, and a teacher in her own right.
Despite the major restrictions on women of that era, Prajapati insisted that women as well as men can realize enlightenment and she was instrumental in creating a Buddhist order of nuns. In so doing, she cleared a path to liberation followed by countless other women since that time. In that way Prajapati was a true revolutionary.
Alicja Zmigrodzka’s beautiful, illustrated book on Prajapati will certainly help us remember one lady we cannot afford to forget.”
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, from the foreword