THE BUDDHA SAT RIGHT HERE by Dena  Moes

THE BUDDHA SAT RIGHT HERE

A Family Odyssey Through India and Nepal
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A family journeys through India and Nepal in this debut travelogue/memoir by a Northern California midwife.

With her acupuncturist husband and two daughters, the author decided to take a journey to India and Nepal. This adventure led the Moes clan to discover ancient wisdom as they traveled through the Indian subcontinent. They went to Bodh Gaya, site of Buddha’s enlightenment, Cochin where they embraced the hugging saint, Amma, and ultimately Ladakh, where they attended the Kalachakra Initiation ceremony conducted by the aging Dalai Lama. The author includes stories from Buddhist-Hindu tradition that augment her own experiences. The husband, Adam, a practicing Buddhist who had been to India before the family’s trip, rediscovered some of the places that revealed their secrets to him previously, but the emphasis remains on the author’s discoveries. Prior to their travels, both the author and her husband had derived their spiritual sustenance from Rainbow Gatherings where they met and fell in love. The origins of their quest for identity reside in hippie theology, an American mix of Eastern mysticism and meditation. “Before enlightenment, cornflakes and coffee,” the author writes, “After enlightenment, cornflakes and coffee.” Sometimes the author’s observations seem a tad precious, but most of her descriptions of teeming city streets, vibrant landscapes, open country, and the delightful variety of many types of Indians and Nepalese enliven her locations and her spiritual searching. A pall hangs over the narrative of the family’s travels, however; before they departed, the state of California launched an investigation into the midwife practices of the author, an investigation whose dread significance memoirist Moes hints at as they travel and whose significance and outcome she finally reveals. As they go, the author also shows the strife between the author and her husband, a domestic rift that threatens to tear the family apart even as they proceed on their long and precarious Eastern journey. Includes black-and-white photos of the family and their travels.

A chatty, animated American family pilgrimage that effectively conveys the author’s inward search for spiritual meaning.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-63152-561-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: She Writes Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2019




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