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Fascinating story of an extraordinary boy

Muni: An Incredible
Buddhist Boyhood
Author: Dr. Susunaga Weeraperuma
Printer: Alwatania Marrakesh,
Morocco

Muni, An Incredible Buddhist Boyhood by Dr. Susunaga Weeraperuma is a neatly brought out book that merits to be read and re-read by Buddhists as well as non-Buddhists interested in Buddhist ideals such as Karma and rebirth. It will not only be of appeal to the widespread Buddhist reading public throughout the world but also to all general readers interested in Karma and rebirth.

If one were to give a synopsis of this novel: “It is a fascinating novel about an extraordinary boy called Muni and it is also a pen portrait of Sri Lankan society with its colourful customs and practices. Muni, who is given to meditation, talks and behaves like a learned and saintly sage of ancient times.

When he is interviewed by a journalist, Muni asks us not to be fooled by the external appearances of the so-called races, for if people only look within themselves they will find that all human beings are essentially the same.

Muni gets into a trance and recognises the house where he had lived in his previous life. There is a happy reunion with the owner of the house who had been Muni's secretary in his last life. Several such instances bear testimony to rebirth.

Jealous sister

When Ramya, Muni's jealous sister, hires two men to kill Muni, both attempts on his life are unsuccessful and the assassins end up having fatal accidents. The vivid description of these events illustrate how Karma operations in our lives.

Ramya discovers the root cause of her hatred of Muni. She realises that in their previous life she had been passionately in love with Muni but he had turned her down. The bitterness of having been a spurned lover in the past life is a trait she had carried over to her present one. Muni An Incredible Buddhist Boyhood is a work of rare literary merit and the humorous moments in it captures the minds of readers to appreciate this novel more and more.

In this novel Buddhist values and teachings are illustrated, especially how Karma, the law of cause and effect, operates the art of meditation, and finally how meditation results in a spiritual change or metamorphosis. Ramya drops her hate and the consequence is loving kindness for her brother Muni whom she had hated not only in her present life but also in the proceeding one.

Impermanence

The following chapters of this novel will be of interest to the discerning readers. His 80th birthday which illustrations the law of impermanence (Anicca) and the inevitability of death – suicide is never the solution to suffering.

The King of the underworld which illustrates how Karma operates – killers Carolis and Mendis themselves get killed.

Troubled Times shows the power and efficacy of meditation. Under the ‘Mango Tree’, the concluding section of this novel illustrates how Muni, the protagonist of this novel, experiences a spiritual transformation.

Muni An Incredible Buddhist Boyhood has a well organised plot and it primarily deals with Buddhist themes such as Karma, rebirth and meditation. It comprises 28 equally interesting chapters.

The novel provides inspiring reading and it is primarily based on the techniques and principles of Buddhism, a subject which is the forte of this prolific writer on Buddhism and it also carried a social, philosophical, moral and religious message.

The author of the book, Dr. Susunaga Weerapperuma, is an experienced writer on Buddhism in English and has already published more than 30 widely read books on a variety of subjects including the deeper aspects of the philosophy of Buddhism which is so near and dear to his heart.

One of his books, Krishnamurti as I knew Him, has been translated into several languages. Born in Sri Lanka Dr. Susunaga Weeraperuma has spent a major part of his life in England, Australia, Switzerland and France, where he is living now, His numerous writings show his erudite understanding of Buddhism and Philosophy.

Style

The novel is quite educative and has been lucidly written using a very simple style of language which makes it easy for readers to understand the message the writer conveys even in its first reading.

Much study and labour have gone into the publication of this very readable novel and the author has striven hard to bring it out maintaining a very high standard both in its layout and in the language he uses. It has been elegantly printed and has an attractive front cover designed by the author's wife, Dr. Claudia Weeraperuma.

Sri Lankans should be proud of the fact that the author is of Sri Lankan origin and his efforts in bringing out this very readable novel is commendable.

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