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This interview features a candid conversation with Greg Bailey, seasoned scholar of Sanskrit narrative Literature, on his multi-decade work on the Purāṇas and Mahābhārata, and on his new novel In Search of Bliss: A Tale of Early Buddhism (Vanguard Press, 2019).
About the novel: Kshemapala is a monk from the North who has been tasked with an important scholarly mission: fill in the gaps in the history of the monk, Ananda, the Buddha's close companion, about whom there are legends but few facts. To achieve this he must journey south, towards the source of many of the stories and also towards experiences which will challenge his perception of his practice and of himself. Highly trained in Buddhist meditation techniques and detachment, he must take in and study the evidence, and understand the behaviour and choices of a monk from the past who seems to have done things rather differently. Along the way, Kshemapala is assisted by old and new acquaintances and teachers, and thrown into peril by his confrontation with the supernatural, despite his years of discipline. He is challenged mentally, physically and metaphysically, all of which lead him to consider his own direction.
Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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