The Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California (UC), Berkeley will be awarding the 2011 Toshihide Numata Book Prize to Todd Lewis and Subarna Man Tuladhar for their jointly authored book, Sugata Saurabha: An Epic Poem from Nepal on the Life of the Buddha by Chittadhar Hridaya (Oxford University Press, 2010).
A press release issued by UC Berkeley states that the Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism is awarded on an annual basis to an outstanding book in the area of Buddhist studies. Sugata Saurabha was selected by members of an outside committee who praised the authors “for their elegant English rendering of Chittadhar Hridaya's complex poetic vernacular”. In the words of one of the committee members, "Sugata Saurabha's great value lies in the fact that not only is it a contemporary life of the Buddha written in a vanishing classic style, a text that has been translated in painstakingly careful fashion, it is a marvelous introduction to the rich textures of Nepali religious culture in general."
The Kavi Kesari – a title conferred upon Chittadhar Hridaya by King Mahendra – wrote primarily in Nepal Bhasa and composed the epic poem when he was incarcerated for ten years by authorities of the Rana regime for attempting to publish what was deemed as subversive poetry. His sister Moti Laxmi Upasika would smuggle out a few handwritten pages everyday when she brought him his food. Sugata Saurabh was completed in 1946 and published from Kolkata in 1949.
Hridaya was also a modern short story writer, a painter and a language activist. His notable works include Mimmanahpau (The Unburnt Letter) and six short stories, of which Jhi Macha (Our Children) was also translated to English by Todd T. Lewis and published in Varanasi.
Lewis and Tuladhar will be presented with the Toshihide Numata Book Prize on the afternoon of November 4, 2011 at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.
Posted on: 2011-10-31 01:17