Vanessa Sasson on the storytelling of women in early Buddhism
San Francisco Zen Center

Vanessa Sasson on the storytelling of women in early Buddhism

During an interview with , discusses her incredible transformation from a confused college graduate studying political to a dedicated professor of Studies and successful author.

Vanessa’s for mountains, ignited during a stopover in , led her on a year-long adventure and eventually inspired her to bring students to Nepal every two years.

Her encounter with the in was transformative, instilling in her a deep aspiration to emulate his .

As a professor at Marianopolis College, Vanessa teaches various religious texts and traditions, including , which holds a special place in her heart.

Despite the and patriarchal nature of Studies, Vanessa’s decision to write novels about early Buddhist women was met with warmth and curiosity from her colleagues, marking a shift in the field towards inclusivity and diversity.

Vanessa’s decision to transition from academic writing to creative writing was driven by a to enter the stories she studied, rather than observe them from afar.

Through her novels, she aims to honor marginalized voices and contribute to broader conversations in the academic and literary .

Vanessa’s journey exemplifies the power of passion, , and dedication in navigating personal and professional transformations while staying true to one’s convictions.


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