Buddha 7: Prince Ajatasattu
In book seven, in the kingdom of Magadha, young Prince Ajatasattu agonizes over the prophecy that claims he will one day murder his own father. Deciding that the prediction is false, he believes that the Buddha is to blame and must pay for the rift it has caused between father and son. Meanwhile, the Buddha's closest disciple, Devadatta, is seduced by the political opportunities offered by the discord in Magadha, and urges his master to take full advantage of them. Originated in the 1970s, ‘Buddha’ is Osamu Tezuka's unparalleled rendition of the life and times of Prince Siddhartha. Tezuka's storytelling genius and consummate skill at visual expression blossom fully as he contextualizes the Buddha's ideas; with an emphasis on, action, emotion, humour and conflict as Prince Siddhartha runs away from home, travels across India and questions Hindu practices such as ascetic self-mutilation and caste oppression. Rather than recommend resignation and impassivity, Tezuka's Buddha predicates enlightenment upon recognising the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering one's life sensibly, his approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. A genuine intellectual, deeply familiar with Western culture from the Bible to Goethe to Hollywood, Tezuka originally intended to become a doctor and received an M.D. Had he not turned to the belittled art of manga storytelling, the medium may never have acquired its capacity for seriousness and depth. Though many have followed his example, it is still Tezuka who draws the deepest awe with his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, persuasive characters, feel for the workings of power, and above all, an indefatigable commitment to human dignity and the sanctity of life.
“Exciting, humanly moving, revealing, it makes the Buddha's achievement much more real than just reciting the traditional facts. I read each volume without putting it down! Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!” —Tenzin Robert Thurman