Review of The Life of the Buddha
About This Resource
The Life of the Buddha
Written by Heather Sanche
Illustrations by Tara di Gesu
Bala Kids, 2020 (44 pages)
Among the Buddhist children’s books out there, Tara di Gesu’s magical illustrations are unparalleled. Children and adults can look again and again at each image and keep finding fascinating details. Heather Sanche’s storytelling is poetic, clear, and concise. The Life of the Buddha recounts the classic tale following Prince Siddhartha’s journey of truth-seeking and discovery, including his life-altering encounters with human suffering and his realization of the Four Noble Truths.
Di Gesu and Sanche, as well as Carolyn Kanjuro, who helped edit the book, are well attuned to the child reader. While all three are students of Tibetan Buddhism, they show no bias or agenda and the book stays true to the origin story that all traditions agree on. There’s a nice historical note at the end, which our children also enjoyed hearing.
- BE AWARE: Mentions death and shows the dying Buddha, lovely ladies and strong men, thoughts and feelings looming “like demons in the sky”
- MENTIONS ENLIGHTENMENT: “He was not pulled by pleasant thoughts nor harmed by frightening ones. And he discovered the noble truth that the cause of suffering is being attached to feelings and experiences that come and go.” (page 34) “As the morning star rose in the eastern sky, yet another noble truth dawned in his heart. ‘There is an end to suffering,’ he realized. For he himself had gone beyond all suffering. He had become the Buddha, the Awakened One. He knew this, beyond any doubt, and did not need anyone else to tell him it was so.” (page 36)