By Aśvaghoṣa
Translated by Linda Covill


Nanda has it all—youth, money, good looks and a kittenish wife who fulfils his sexual and emotional needs. He also has the Buddha, a dispassionate man of immense insight and self-containment, for an older brother. When Nanda is made a reluctant recruit to the Buddha’s order of monks, he is forced to confront his all-too-human enslavement to his erotic and romantic desires. Dating from the second century CE, Handsome Nanda portrays its hero’s spiritual makeover with compassion, psychological profundity and great poetic skill.

Today I comprehend that men who leave behind their weeping sweethearts to practise asceticism—and those who have done so in the past, and those who will do so in the future—they are doing something very difficult indeed, and so it was in the past and will be in the future. There is no bond in the world, whether of wood, fibre or iron, as solid as this bond—teasing words and a face with fluttering eyes!

392 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-1683-0  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-1683-0  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation

About the Translator

Linda Covill translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library.