Twenty years ago I traveled through India for three weeks, so when I heard Dena Moes interviewed about her family’s eight month pilgrimage to India, I knew I wanted to read her travel memoir about that journey, The Buddha Sat Right Here. I thought it would be a fun to “see” India again through someone else’s eyes, and I was right.
The Moes family is a Buddhist family from California. Dena and her husband had two young girls at the time of their trip, and they wanted to take them away from their modern life in order to help them understand why their parents chose to raise them as Buddhists. But, for me, this book was not so much about religion, which is why I’m reviewing it here on my blog. Dena does describe some of the sacred sites and their experiences in beautiful detail, but the book was more about traveling as a family and being a family. Dena faced some difficult feelings about how she didn’t want to return to the way things were when they returned home, and she makes some serious, life-changing decisions while they are in India. Ultimately, the pilgrimage they took into their hearts and minds was more meaningful than the pilgrimage through India.
I thought it was a worthy book because I could relate to all the family stuff — the good, the bad and the in between of daily life, which is exacerbated whenever we’re away from our creature comforts. While I would never want to undertake a journey such as this, and I couldn’t relate to all the reasons they had for visiting each site in the book, I think many women can identify with Dena’s struggles to balance being a wife and mother while running a thriving business as a mid-wife.
If you like to read travel memoirs, or if you are interested in India, Buddhism, or reading about the ups and downs of family life, you’ll enjoy this book. If you like all those subjects, you’ll love it.