Finally, someone has put together a manga (graphic novel) based on the history of Buddha. It’s been done for The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Master Je Tsongkhapa and author Stephan Asma wrote and illustrated a book called “Buddha, A Beginners Guide” which was comic like, but it was done in more of a humorous way than “The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography”, which is more true to the roots of this style of novel.
“The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography”, is much more of a traditional Japanese styled manga, meticulous, clean and quite moving. The illustrations are striking and express emotion without even needing to read the words, but it is important obviously that you do read them. The story line, which most of all know by now, puts a little more emphasis on his life in the palace and the struggles he goes through in understanding, or trying to understand, what life is truly about. His struggles were immense, but through rigorous training of the mind and body, the Buddha did achieve true happiness from suffering.
The novel is written well enough that intermediate readers to adult readers will not only enjoy, but devour in a timely fashion. I truly enjoyed reading “The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography” and would recommend it highly not only to those who are new to Buddhist thought and practice, but to those that already have a working knowledge of Buddhism. Hats off to Hisashi Ota for accepting the challenge to tackle such a project, and praise to him for being successful in doing so.