Siddhartha's Saga

Were he alive today, the Buddha would be in jail for child-support violations. Two-and-a-half millenniums of adoration and mythology have obscured the unflattering fact that the Buddha was a deadbeat dad. So a shimmering new English translation of the Buddhacarita, the 2nd century Sanskrit poem chronicling his life, reminds us that in his search for enlightenment and release from samsara — the wheel of rebirths that condemns us to endless lives and thus suffering — he cruelly abandoned his wife and young son Rahula (whose name, making a not-so-subtle point, means...

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