The fifth book in the classic eight volume graphic novel series retelling the story of Buddha, from the godfather of the genre.In book five, rising from the shade of the Pippla tree, Buddha must spread the word of Brahma to his fellows, be they human or animal. He will confront Devadatta's ruthless ambition, soothe Tatta's thirst for revenge and will even reach out to the stubborn monk Dhepa. But forgiving the Kingdom of Kosala for the devastation wreaked upon his homeland could prove to be Buddha's greatest challenge yet.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 recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering one's life sensibly. Furthermore, his approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humour.
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Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese graphic novels. 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. 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.From Booklist:
Japanese comics pioneer Tezuka's monumental account of the life of the Buddha continues. Little is known about the life of the sixth-century-B.C.E. spiritual leader, so Tezuka devotes much of the narrative to characters he created as well as figures from early Buddhist lore, through them portraying the violent society and cruel caste system that the Buddha challenged. Deer Park opens with a meeting between the fictional swordsman Tatta and the historical Devadatta, both of whose lives would be transformed by the Buddha. Tatta pledges his life to the Buddha after the voice of his bandit lover, Migaila, is miraculously restored; but Devadatta goes on to become the Buddha's greatest enemy. Deer Park also includes a key event in the Buddha's story: the delivery of his first sermon in a field in which deer and other wild beasts gather. Those expecting a solemn treatment of Buddhist foundations may be taken aback by Tezuka's approach, which encompasses humor and, indeed, broad slapstick and lowbrow, anachronistic jokes that frequently break the fourth wall, as when Tatta removes his helmet in battle, saying, "Tezuka says it's hard to draw anyway." Others may object to the frequent violence or the casual nudity. Those who approach the work open-mindedly can't but be impressed by Tezuka's compassionate humanism--a quality distinguishing his work throughout his long career--and masterful storytelling. Gordon Flagg
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