The Saffron Road: A Journey with Buddha’s Daughters by Christine Toomey - review by Isabella Tree

Isabella Tree

Robes to Enlightenment

The Saffron Road: A Journey with Buddha’s Daughters


Portobello Books 367pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Two headlines caught my attention recently: one, that an increasing number of women in Britain are becoming Catholic nuns; the other, that female clergy in the Anglican Church are demanding the right to refer to God as ‘She’. Perhaps, at last, there are signs that the patriarchal hegemony of the Christian world-view is breaking down. Certainly, it seems that women continue to be attracted, perhaps more than ever, to a life of spiritual devotion.

The Saffron Road follows the path of women taking Buddhist orders, not just in the East, where Buddhism began 2,500 years ago, but in America and Europe too, including the UK, where the Buddhist movement is growing fast. The reasons for the women’s calling and their renunciation of material comforts, marriage and children, and sometimes lucrative careers lie at the heart of this beguiling and

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