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The Buddha and the Bard

Where Shakespeare’s Stage Meets Buddhist Scriptures

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What does Shakespeare have to teach us about mindfulness? What Eastern spiritual views about death, love, and presence are reflected in the writings of The Bard? The Buddha and the Bard reveals the surprising connections between the 2,500-year-old spiritual leader and the most compelling writer of all time.

Shakespeare understood and represented the human condition better than any writer of his time. As for the Buddha, he saw how to liberate us from that condition. Author Lauren Shufran explores the fascinating interplay of Western drama and Eastern philosophy by pairing quotes from Shakespeare with the tenets of an Eastern spiritual practice, sparking a compelling dialogue between the two. There’s a remarkable interchange of echoes between Shakespeare’s conception of “the inward man” and Buddhist approaches to recognizing, honoring, and working with our humanness as we play out our roles on the “stage” of our lives.

The Buddha and the Bard synthesizes literature and scripture, embodied drama and transcendent practice, to shape a multifaceted lyric that we can apply as mindful practice in our own lives. Shufran’s compelling juxtapositions will encourage the reader to ask the deepest questions of themselves while delighting in the play of resonances across a cultural and historical divide.

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Praise for The Buddha and the Bard

“Shufran’s compelling juxtapositions will encourage the reader to ask the deepest questions of themselves while delighting in the play of resonances across a cultural and historical divide.”
YOGA Magazine

“I am marveling at Lauren Shufran’s ability to weave classical literature with spiritual frameworks. On the surface, Shakespeare and the Buddha, don’t seem to have a lot in common, but the genius of both may be in showing us how many more connections rather than disconnections, we actually share in life. Lauren Shufran writes from this same place of compassionate, inter-sectional wisdom.”
Amazon Review

“Whether you are a Shakespeare fan, delving into the world of Buddhism, mindfulness or spirituality, or none of the above, there is something in this book for you.”
Amazon Review

“This gorgeous book explores how the poetic language of Shakespeare and the spiritual practices of Buddha intersect to reveal that humanity shares the same virtues and struggles with the same vices regardless of cultural setting. Lauren Shufran examines how these two voices separated by time and place actually echo each other in their astute observations of human behavior. Through select brief lines from Shakespeare’s plays, she guides readers through paraphrase, context, and meaning; and before you know it, she leads us out of the play and into the sanctuary merging literary meaning and spiritual practice.”
Amazon Review

About the Author

Lauren Shufran holds an MA (English) and an MFA (Creative Writing: Poetry) from San Francisco State University, and a PhD (Early Modern British Literature) from UC Santa Cruz. In her eight years of PhD candidacy at UCSC she taught a wide range of courses, from creative writing to Biblical Poetics in Renaissance England to The English Sonnet Sequence; but Shakespeare was the course she taught most consistently. She discovered yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices while writing her dissertation. Lauren’s first major publication was a book of poetry called Inter Arma (Fence Books, 2013), which won the Motherwell Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press), as well as in Postmodern Culture, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Emerge: An Anthology of Writing by Lambda Fellows, and elsewhere over the years. She’s also had scholarly essays published in a handful of peer-reviewed journals. Lauren presently works as a ghostwriter and content strategist for a startup in San Francisco.

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