Tag: youth

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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Death: the Third of the Four Sights

The third of the four sights which influenced the Buddha and compelled him to seek a means to enlightenment was death. More specifically, witnessing a dead corpse. Living a sheltered life, he was unaware of death and that nobody could escape it.

Siddhartha was disappointed and discouraged. He was often found in deep contemplation in his room after seeing the diseased man. Suddhodhana was pitiful after seeing him so changed. The prince soon approached him again for his consent to leave the castle to witness more things about the life in the city. Suddhodhana knew there would come no good by attempting to stop his child. So, he agreed to let him go again.

Siddhartha and Channa went out from the royal residence and strolled in many parts of Kapilvastu dressed as young aristocrats. The prince saw a group of people tagging along the road crying, while four men at the back were bearing a board on which a thin man lay level and still. The carried man resembled a stone, never letting out the slightest breath. The group soon ceased and the board bearers rested the man down on a heap of wood and set the wood ablaze. The man did not move as the flares were consuming the board, and afterward his body, from all sides.

Siddhartha asked Channa about it. He wondered why that man was burned like that. Channa answered that the man had died. The prince learned that everybody dies, even rulers, and nothing can stop death.

The prince was stunned. He thought about death and how it comes to everybody, sparing nobody. Was there no real way to stop it? He went home quiet. He went straight to his own room in the royal residence and sat somewhere down in thought for the remaining day.

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Sickness / Disease : the second of the Four Sights

Second of the four sights was sickness.

Suddodhana unwillingly enabled Siddhartha to visit the city again. He figured that it would not be good to stop him, and would just add to his perplexity and despondency. Suddodhana did not warn the people to be prepared or to decorate the city this time. The prince and Channa disguised themselves as young noblement so they are not recognized.

The city was very different from their last visit. No more blissful groups of people hailed the prince. There were no banners, or flowers, yet common-people carrying on with their day by day life. A metal forger was sweating and beating to make blades. The gem dealers and goldsmiths were making pieces of jewelry, bangles, studs and rings out of precious stones, gold and silver. The garments dyers were coloring materials of stunning shading and hanging them up to dry. The pastry specialists were hectically preparing bread, cakes and desserts and pitching them to the clients, who ate them still hot. The ruler took a gander at these straightforward everyday citizens. Everybody was extremely occupied, glad and satisfied in their work.

As the two strolled along they went over a man on the ground, curling his body, holding his stomach with two hands and shouting out in torment as loud as possible. Everywhere all over his body were purple fixes, and he was panting for breath as his eyes rolled. His sickness made him suffer greatly.

This was the second time that the Prince was very sad. Immediately, the prince rushed to help and rested the man’s head on his knee, asking what was wrong with him. The diseased man was not able to speak owing to his sickness, yet he cried.
He asked Channa about the reason this man was like this.

Channa warned the prince to not touch the man since he was suffering from the plague and the prince might contract it too. The Prince asked him if there are more people like it, if there are more things than this kind of plague. Channa’s answer confirmed both of these. The Prince was deeply troubled upon further learning that nobody can stop it and it can happen any time to anybody.

The prince was even sadder at the second sight, fixated on the sick man and his suffering.

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First of the Four Sights : Old Age

Suddodhana tried his best to ensure that Prince Siddhartha would be prepared for the life of a ruler. He had a high wall built around the royal residence, including its parks and gardens, yet Siddhartha was not content with living like detained. One day he expressed his desire to leave the palace and to see how other people live. The young prince was unaware of things such as old age, sickness or death.

The King agreed, but he had arranged for preparations before he would allow him to see the city. He ordered the people to arrange for the prince’s visit by decorating the city and welcoming him as he passes them.

As Siddhartha was passing through the town, unexpectedly, from a little old hovel adjacent to the street, out came an old man with long silver-silver hair, wearing exceptionally old, torn and messy clothes. His face had dried and wrinkled with old age. His depressed eyes were pale and he was going blind. He was teethless too. He got up trembling, grasping at his walking stick with two bowed and thin hands to enable himself to stand.

The old man dragged himself along the road, unaware of all the cheerful environment around him. He was talking weakly, asking people for food. Prince was unable to understand what he was seeing. He had seen an old man of this sort for the first time ever.

He thought that it cannot possibly be a man, he asked his driver Channa about him. He asked why was his body crooked, why he was trembling and why were his hair grey? He wondered what happened to his teeth or what was wrong with his eyes. He asked him if that’s how some people are born.

Channa answered that it was an aged man and he was certainly not born in that manner. He became like this due to his old age. The Prince was not satisfied when told to ignore that man. Channa said that everybody in the world becomes like that man if they live enough to get old.

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Prince Siddhartha marries princess Yasodhara

An significant event in Siddhartha’s life before becoming the Buddha is his marriage to princess Yasodhara.

After Prince Siddhartha achieved the age of 16, King Suddhodhana recalled what the wise men had foretold. He recalled that the Prince would deny lay-life and accept monkhood when he gets older. The King was concerned since he didn’t wanted his child to become a monk. He instead wished him to end up as a great king.

He had built three awesome royal residences for Siddhartha with lovely gardens. One palace for winter, one for summer and one for rainy season. Wherever one looked, there was magnificence and delight. Prince Siddhartha was living in a place of bounty and exquisiteness. It was predicted, that he would leave the palace after seeing: an old man, a sick man, a dead body and a roaming monk who had surrendered the lay life.

In this way, the King took every one of the measures to secure the youthful sovereign from such sights. He forbade wandering monks around the inward parts of the city. It is not that he did not see anyone ill inside the royal residence, even when they were ill, they didn’t look terrifying, and soon showed signs of improvement. This did not suggest that life is full of sufferings and people are powerless where illness, death, and old age are concerned.

Even so, despite his protected life the King saw the prince frequently in a pensive mood. This stressed him. He asked the wise men as to what he should do to make him cheerful and enjoy life. They suggested to marry him to a beautiful girl to distract him from his thoughts. The King considered this to be a brilliant idea.

Despite that, the Prince told the counselors that the he didn’t wanted a girl who was hedonistic. He didn’t care whether the young lady is from ranks of nobles or not, but she must have honorable qualities required to be his wife. He listed characteristics his significant other ought to have and offered it to the wise men. Many young noble girls were invited to the royal residence, the Prince could pick whoever he prefers. Among them was the most enchanting excellent Koliyan Princess named Yasodhara. When Prince Siddhartha saw her, he removed his neckband and put it round her neck. By this signal, the King realized that his child liked her the most, and was extremely cheerful to give him a chance to wed his picked bride.

However, King Suppabuddha, the bride’s father, did not like this thought. He said that Prince Siddhartha, resembles a girl, who evaded conflict and going into war. He contended that his daughter won’t be in safe hands with such a husband. As he disapproved of wars, he won’t be able to save his nation and his family from its foes.

Yasodhara was a princess by her own right as well. In that capacity, King Suppabuddha organised a competition among 500 noblemen of the nation, if they wanted to marry princess Yasodhara. He also asked Siddhartha to participate in these competitions and substantiate himself deserving of her hand. At the competition, he outperformed all his contenders in numerous troublesome feats which included jumping, swimming, running, and various other games. Siddhartha won effectively on the mental abilities too.

After the events, Prince Siddhattha, gave a performance with his stallion Kanthaka. They moved at lightning speed performing different acts, which left no doubts on his ability on the arts of warfare. This also showed that he could take care of the kingdom, despite the fact that he despised going into war. Having that sort of mental and physical quality, the people soon understood that no one could match him. He had an unprecedented identity, so far covered up because of his humility, and this made him unrivalled.

There on, King Suppabuddha acknowledged that Prince Siddhartha is a suited match for his daughter Yasodhara. He permitted the Princess to have her decision and wed Prince Siddhartha. The entire city of Kapilavasthu cheered at this marriage. The wedding festivities carried on for seven days. There was a feast at the castle grounds, with singing and dancing throughout the entire day.

The celebration of the royal marriage of Prince Siddharta and Yasodhara

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