Saint Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia
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Book Topics - Buddhism: Buddha, Dalai Lama; Christianity: The Magi, St. Patrick, St. Wenceslas, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Crusades, Grail Theories; Hinduism; Islam: Caliphate, Aga Khan; Jainism; Judaism: Biblical Royals; Rastafarianism
Royal Prayer: A Surprising History by David Baldwin. From Queen Hatshepsut to Princess Diana, prayers by and for royalty can have immense consequence for the psyche of a nation.
Buddha by Karen Armstrong. At the age of 29, a prince walked away from his palace to search for spiritual enlightenment. He became one of the most influential people of all time. This account of Buddha's life is based on early scriptures and later biographies. (Review © Amazon)
The Buddha: The Story of an Awakened Life by David Kherdian. A simple, uplifting telling of the life of Buddha.
The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Nanamoli. Though born a prince surrounded by luxuries, Gotama Buddha was transformed by realizing that no one escapes unhappiness or suffering.
Siddhartha: The Prince Who Became Buddha by Marilia Albanese, photos by Tiziana Baldizzone and Gianni Baldizzone. Sheds new light on the life and teachings of Buddha, lavishly illustrated with spectacular works of art and a photographic recreation of the roads traveled by the Enlightened One.
Gotama Buddha: A Biography Based on the Most Reliable Texts by Hajime Nakamura. The author embarks on a search for the details of the historical Buddha's life, analyzing the oldest texts and later biographies. First of two volumes (second volume not yet published).
Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha translated by Thomas Byrom. Buddha's teachings.
Prince of Dharma: The Illustrated Life of Buddha by Ranchor Prime, illustrated by B. G. Sharma. Tells Buddha's life story, taken from the classical sources, with the help of 50 paintings by a renowned Indian artist.
Sutasoma: The Ancient Tale of a Buddha Prince by Kate O'Brien. Translation of a Javanese poem about Buddha's reincarnation as an Indian prince.
Buddha by Demi. A biography for children ages 9 to 12.
Prince Siddhartha: The Story of Buddha by Jonathan Landaw, illustrated by Janet Brooke. Full-color illustrations depict the Buddha's life, awakening, and teaching. For ages 9 to 12.
Freedom in Exile by the Dalai Lama. The autobiography of Tenzin Gyatso, the exiled god-king of Tibet. This book is well-written, interesting, and not at all what you may expect if you are unfamiliar with the Dalai Lama and his story -- he is very down-to-earth.
The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation edited by Glenn H. Mullin and Valerie Shepherd. Offers the life stories of all 14 Dalai Lamas in one volume.
The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama by Melvyn C. Goldstein. Inspects the historical record to resolve the question of whether or not Tibet has traditionally been a part of China. (Review © Amazon.)
Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years by John Philip Jenkins. A wide range of beliefs about Jesus circulated until Roman royalty and church leaders killed thousands of people to stamp out heresy.
Royal Saints & Saintly Royals by Pamela Hill. Describes how royal saints influenced the development of Britain and Europe.
Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' c. 900-1200 edited by Nora Berend. Essays reveal the connections between Christianity and power.
The Power of Kings: Monarchy and Religion in Europe, 1589-1715 by Paul Kleber Monod. Explores the profound shift in the way European kings and queens were regarded by their subjects between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. Once viewed as godlike beings, by 1715 monarchs had come to represent the human side of the rational state.
Sacral Kingship Between Disenchantment and Re-enchantment: The French and English Monarchies 1587-1688 by Ronald G. Asch. This study focuses on the interaction between ideas of monarchy and images of power. Even in periods when politics were seemingly secularized, religious images and values still lent legitimacy to royal authority.
The Eastern Orthodox Churches: Concise Histories With Chronological Checklists of Their Primates by Michael Burgess. Alphabetical guide to the Eastern Orthodox churches. Each entry includes a brief summary of the church's history; the location, number, and language of its members; the official title of the primate; the language used in the church; primary sources for the entry; and a chronology of the reigns of the church's primates.
Emperors and Elections: Reconciling the Orthodox Tradition With Modern Politics by Nikolas K. Gvosdev. Looks at the Orthodox Eastern Church and the traditional role of the emperor in the Orthodox world.
Papacy, Monarchy and Marriage 860-1600 by David d'Avray. Includes the marital problems of Lothar II, English kings John, Henry III, and Henry VIII, and other monarchs, especially Spanish and French.
Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich. A chronicle of nearly 2,000 years of Roman Catholic popes, including brave Leo I, who tamed Attila the Hun; the mythical Pope Joan; reformers such as the 16th century's Pope Paul III; and modern pope Benedict XVI.
Chronicle of the Popes by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart. A reign-by-reign record of the papacy over 2000 years, from St. Peter to John Paul II.
The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church From 1050 to 1250 by Colin Morris.
The Notion of Papal Monarchy in the Thirteenth Century: The Idea of Paradigm in Church History by Matthew Harris. Examines the variety of beliefs concerning the papal office in the 13th century.
Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendents of the Popes by George L. Williams. Covers all papal families, starting with the first pope.
Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed by Laurence Gardner, foreword by Prince Michael of Albany. The author claims that the royal families of Europe are descended from Jesus Christ.
Genesis of the Grail Kings: The Explosive Story of Genetic Cloning and the Ancient Bloodline of Jesus by Laurence Gardner and Nicholas de Vere. More on author Gardner's theories.
Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln. According to the authors, Jesus was probably married and a father - and his bloodline still exists.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (fiction). No, I have not read this book, but almost everyone I know has, and they all insist that it's good.
The Mahabharata retold by William Buck, translated by Shirley Triest. Princes battle for control a kingdom in this ancient Sanskrit poem about a war that is said to have taken place in 1302 BC.
The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic adapted by R. K. Narayan. The longest poem ever written, The Mahabharata is about warriors, kings, saints, and goddesses caught up in the romance and drama of family intrigue.
The Mahabharata translated by Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan. This collection of more than 4,000 verses from the epic ancient Hindu poem is supplemented by a glossary, genealogical tables, and an index correlating the verses with the original Sanskrit text.
The Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Retelling of India's Mahabharata epic from the viewpoint of Princess Panchaali, whose five husbands have been cheated out of their kingdom.
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Juan Mascaro. This poem, which is part of the much longer Mahabharata, is considered one of the most important Hindu texts. It presents a religious discussion between Krishna (an incarnation of the god Vishnu) and Prince Arjuna as Arjuna reluctantly faces friends and family members across a battlefield.
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran. An accessible translation with introductions to each chapter.
The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi by Mohandas K. Gandhi. The first book to include Gandhi's Gita text and commentary, presented to his disciples over a nine-month period in 1926, in their entirety.
The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic by Ramesh Menon. Originally composed around 300 BC, this is the epic story of Prince Rama's betrayal, exile, and struggle to rescue his faithful wife, Sita, from the clutches of a demon and to reclaim his throne.
Ramayana: A Tale of Gods and Demons by Ranchor Prime, illustrated by B. G. Sharma. Illustrated version of the story.
Ramayana retold by William Buck, illustrations by Shirley Triest. Retells the story of Prince Rama - with all its courtly intrigue, fierce battles, and triumph of good over evil - in a way accessible to modern readers.
Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok K. Banker. First novel in an epic fantasy series based on the Ramayana. Followed by sequels: Siege of Mithila, Demons of Chitrakut, Armies of Hanuman, Bridge of Rama, and King of Ayodhya.
A Prince in Exile: The Journey Begins by Vrinda Doherty, illustrated by Ann Doherty. Part 1 of the three-volume series Prince Rama: Son of the Solar Dynasty, a translation of India's epic Ramayana saga. For children ages 9 to 12.
The Ghazi Sultans and the Frontiers of Islam by Ali Anooshahr. A comparative study of three Muslim kings who were regarded as holy warriors during the late medieval and early modern periods.
The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam by A. Azfar Moin. At the end of the 16th century, Mughal emperor Akbar declared himself the most sacred being on earth. But he was not alone in doing so. This study explores why Muslim sovereigns in this period began to imitate Sufi saints.
Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts edited by Linda Komaroff. This illustrated catalogue presents some 240 rare and costly works of art from gift exchanges among the courts of Islam, Byzantium, western Europe, and eastern Asia from the 8th century through the 19th century.
Judaism and Biblical Royals
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Dalai Lama: The Soul of Tibet. From a childhood in "Shangri-La" to a life in exile, the life story of Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama.
The Life of Buddha. A 2001 film about Buddha's life. Features nearly an hour of additional materials from Buddhist scholars and spiritual leaders.
Little Buddha. 1994 movie directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Mixes the story of a modern American child who is the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk with a depiction of the life of Buddha (played convincingly by Keanu Reeves). The contemporary scenes are boring and unbelievable due to the deadpan acting of Bridget Fonda and Chris Isaak as the boy's parents, but the scenes of Buddha's life are excellent and make the movie worth seeing.