Month: October 2017

Offer made by King Bimbisara of Magadha

The youthful prince meandered from place as a bhikku. He eventually came to Rajgir City, where King Bimbisara of the Magadha Kingdom lived. Siddhartha strolled round the streets asking for food from house to house, with his bowl in his hand, similar to any other samanna. People started to call him “Sakyamuni” the sage of the Sakyas, some others called him “Samanna” or “Ascetic Gotama”. However, he was not called Prince Siddhartha anymore.

He was youthful, handsome, healthy, and neat. He talked compassionate and gracefully. He didn’t request people to give him anything but individuals were cheerful and satisfied to give him food.

A few people went and told the ruler about him. They narrated how a young and polite man, who somehow stood out from the other beggar monks was making rounds of the city.

Upon hearing the name “Gotama”, King Bimbisara knew without doubt that this was the prince of the Shakya kingdom, son of King Suddhodana, his friend. He went up to him and asked him about why he was doing it? If he had a quarrel with his father? For what reason would he go about like this? Bimbisara offered him to remain in his kingdom and rule alongside him with half of Magadha to Siddhartha’s name.

Siddhartha thanked Bimbisara but affirmed his decision and explained that he cherishes his family and everybody. He needed to figure out how to overcome sufferings. Saying so, he left.

Bimbisara made sure that all the wandering Ascetics were protected in his kingdom. He is appreciated in Buddhist writings for his cultural achievements.

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Renunciation of the Buddha : Siddhartha leaves the Palace

Prince Siddhartha’s renunciation soon took place after the birth of his son Rahula. He affirmed his decision to leave after a feast failed to distract him.

Suddhodana organised a great feast for the young prince to celebrate the birth of his son, Rahula. The best dancers and musicians in the country were invited to perform. It was not out of delight that Suddhodana arranged it. He saw that Siddhartha was unhappy and that his new infant child was not giving him joy. The king was worried about the prince’s plans to leave the Palace. For the last time, he tried his best to divert him far from his solemn reflections.
Siddhartha went to the gathering just to satisfy his father. Siddhartha was worn out from his thoughts and he soon nodded off.

The performers soon stopped and they too rested when they saw this. Soon thereafter, the prince arose, stunned to see these people asleep. All the best performers and entertainers in the kingdom were now in such positions. These same people, who, hours prior, were endeavoring to make the prince so cheerful were now snoring loudly, some crushing and biting their teeth, they were tired from the effort. This change in their appearance made Siddhartha much more sickened and sad. He thought how oppressive it was. His mind turned again towards leaving the castle. He got up silently from the room and, woke up Channa, and made a request to saddle Kanthaka, his steed.

As Channa was saddling up Kanthaka, Siddhartha went to see his infant child for the first time. Yasodhara was laying down with the child next to her, her hand laying on the infant’s head. Siddhartha thought that if he attempts to move her hand so he can hold the baby for one final hug, he might wake her and she will keep him from his renunciation. He should leave at any cost, however, when he has discovered what he seeks, he shall return and see them once more.

Discreetly, Siddhartha left. At midnight, and the ruler was on his white steed Kanthaka with Channa, his loyal servant, held its tail. No one halted him as he rode far from all who knew, regarded and cherished him. He looked at the city of Kapilavastu one last time in the moonlight. He was renouncing his life to figure out to understand old age, disease and death. He rode to the bank of the stream Anoma (“celebrated”) and got off from his steed. He took off his adornments and royal garments and offered them to Channa to take them back to Suddhodhana. He then took his sword and trimmed off his long hair, wore simple robes, took a begging bowl and requested Channa to return with Kanthaka. Channa was asked to tell the king about his renunciation and that he shall return only when he had found the truth.

Channa was reluctant to return, but he began to go, however Kanthaka won’t follow him. The prince tried to persuade him, but Kanthaka won’t budge. Kanthaka figured that he might never see his master again. Kanthaka died of sadness as Siddhartha vanished into the horizon.

Thus was the renunciation.

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