Story of The Buddha – Part 02

11. Siddhartha is found meditating

Siddhartha thought deeply about what he saw around him. He learned that
although he was happy, there was a lot of suffering in life. So he felt deep sympathy
for all creatures. When the king and the maids noticed that the prince was not
among the crowd, they went to look for him. They were surprised to find the prince
sitting crossed-legged, in deep meditation.

12. The King gives Siddhartha a palace

The king did not want his son to think about deep things in life too much,
because he remembered that the wise men had predicted that his son might one day
want to leave the palace and become a monk. So, in order to distract him, the king
built Siddhartha a beautiful palace with a lovely garden to play in. But this did not
stop the prince from thinking about the suffering and unhappiness that he noticed
around him.

13. Siddhartha’s  Bride Princess Yasodhara

Siddhartha grew up to be a handsome young man of great strength. He was now
of an age to get married. To stop Siddhartha from thinking of leaving home, King
Suddhodana arranged for him to be married to his own beautiful cousin, Princess

14. The horse-taming contest

Following the ancient tradition, Siddhartha had to prove how brave he was to
be worthy of Yasodhara. In the presence of her parents he was asked to tame a wild
horse. Siddhartha tamed the horse not by beating it, as some suitors might, but by
talking to the horse to calm it and stroking it gently. Yasodhara wanted to marry
the prince, and no one else. They were married in a great ceremony. Both were only
sixteen years old.

15. The Pleasure Palace

To stop the prince from thinking about unhappiness or leaving home, King
Suddhodana built a pleasure palace for Siddhartha and Yasodhara. Dancers and
singers were asked to entertain them, and only healthy and young people were
allowed into the palace and the palace garden. The king did not want Siddhartha
to know that everybody gets sick, grows old and will die. But in spite of the king’s
efforts, the prince was not happy. He wanted to know what life was like for people
who lived outside the palace walls.

16. The Four Sights:  OLD AGE

Finally, the king allowed Siddhartha to go on short visits to the nearby towns.
He went with his attendant, Channa. On his first visit Siddhartha saw a white
haired, wrinkled man dressed in rags. Such a sight surprised him, as he had never
seen anyone old before. Channa explained to him that this man was old and that
everyone will be old one day. Siddhartha felt frightened by that and asked Channa
to take him back home. At night, he could not sleep and he kept on thinking about
old age.

17. The Four Sights: SICKNESS

Although Siddhartha felt frightened by the vision of getting old, he wanted to see
more of the world outside. On his next visit, he saw a man lying on the ground and
moaning. Out of compassion, he rushed over to the man. Channa warned him that
the man was sick and that everyone, even noble people like Siddhartha or the king
could get sick.

18. The Four Sights: DEATH

On the third visit, Siddhartha and Channa saw four men carrying another man
on a stretcher. Channa told Siddhartha that the man was dead and was going to
be cremated. He also said that no one can escape death, and told the prince that
everyone will die one day. When they returned to the palace, Siddhartha kept on
thinking about what he had seen. Finally, he made a strong decision to find a way
out of the suffering of old age, sickness and death.

19. The Four Sights: A MONKS

Some time later, while the prince was riding in the garden, he saw a man in a
yellow robe. He noticed that the man looked very peaceful and happy. Channa ex-
plained to him that the man was a monk. The monk had le� his family and given
up his desire for pleasures to search for freedom from worldly suffering. The prince
felt inspired by the sight of the monk and began to want to leave home to search
for freedom in the same way. That day, his wife gave birth to a lovely baby boy. But
Siddhartha could not rejoice, although he loved the boy, because he wanted to become
a monk, and he realised that now it would be more difficult for him to leave home.

20. Turning away from the dancers

From the day when he decided that he wanted to leave the palace the prince
lost all interest in watching the dancing girls and other such pleasures. He kept on
thinking instead about how to free himself and others from sickness, ageing and
death. Finally, he decided he had to leave the palace and his family and become a
homeless monk, in order to understand life and what caused suffering.

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