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A fascinating biography of Freda Bedi, an English woman who broke all the rules of gender, race, and religious background to become both a revolutionary in the fight for Indian independence and then a Buddhist icon. aaaaaFreda Bedi (1911-1977) was one of the most remarkable and iconoclastic figures in Buddhism's movement to the West. Born in England, educated at Oxford, and married to a Sikh, she became a major force both in shaping modern-day Buddhism and Indian history. In her life she had many roles--political freedom fighter, spiritual seeker, scholar, professor, journalist, author, social worker, wife, and mother of four children (one of whom is a well-known actor).aa Vicki MacKenzie's lively biography captures what a trailblazer Bedi was in both the secular and spiritual realms. She studied meditation with Burmese meditation masters. She was the first English woman to be accepted by Gandhi into his elite band of Satyagrahi, delivering rousing speeches to thousands of Indians urging them to revolt, and then was imprisoned for subversion. She was asked by Nehru to help resettle Tibetan refugees, and she aided the Dalai Lama when he went into exile. Bedi established a school for young Tibetan lamas and also a nunnery, which still exists, to provide nuns equal religious opportunities. She was also the first woman, of any nationality, to receive the full Bikshuni ordination, making her the highest-ranking Tibetan Buddhist nun in India.aaaaMacKenzie, a well-known journalist in Britain, has forty years of experience writing about Buddhism in the West. For this book, she traced Bedi's footsteps and conducted many in-depth interviews with those who knew her, including friends, family, government officials, lamas, and nuns. She also drew heavily from Bedi's own writings, diaries, and recordings--all provided by Bedi's family--and the book includes many photographs.
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About the Author

VICKI MACKENZIE is a professional journalist and author who has written for the national and international press for over 40 years. Her articles have appeared inaThe Sunday Times, The Observer, The DailyaandaSunday Telegraph,atheaDaily Mail,aand many national magazines. She has written extensively on Buddhist topics and was the first person to publish an interview with the Dalai Lama foraThe Sunday Times.aShe has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1976.

Reviews

"This book is a worthy record of a truly fascinating woman."--Diana Athill, author of Somewhere Towards the End, Stet: An Editor's Life, and Alive, Alive Oh! "An inspiring biography that will appeal to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike."--David Michie, author of Buddhism for Busy People "Vicki Mackenzie captures the spirit of Freda Bedi, whose fierce compassion guided her through the shoals of political activism, motherhood, and finally bringing Buddhism to the West."--Wendy Garling, author, Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life "An enthralling story about an indomitable woman, who cared deeply about the suffering and inequalities of the world--and did something about them. Freda Bedi was a big woman, with a big heart and a big life."--Joanna Lumley "Vicki Mackenzie has written an engrossing and dramatic account of an extraordinary spiritual adventurer who lived the equivalent of four or five lifetimes all packed into one! As she did with Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment, the stellar biography of Tenzin Palmo, the second Western woman to become a Tibetan Buddhist nun, Mackenzie stirs our souls by giving us a vivid portrait of a disciplined and dedicated life."--Spirituality & Practice This book is a worthy record of a truly fascinating woman. Diana Athill, author of Somewhere Towards the End, Stet: An Editor s Life, and Alive, Alive Oh! An inspiring biography that will appeal to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. David Mitchie, author of Buddhism for Busy People Vicki Mackenzie captures the spirit of Freda Bedi, whose fierce compassion guided her through the shoals of political activism, motherhood, and finally bringing Buddhism to the West. Wendy Garling, author, Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha s Life"

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