Prince Siddhartha Story - Leaving The Palace - On The Way To Becoming Buddha
Prince Siddhartha; the story of leaving the Royal Palace before his time of Buddha
The young Prince Siddhartha ordered his charioteer Chandaka to saddle his horse Kanthaka, and succeeded in escaping unseen from the city. Before obeying his request, the faithful follower had for the last time tried to dissuade him from his purpose, and had implored him, with streaming eyes, not to sacrifice his splendid youth by going to lead the miserable life of a mendicant, and not to quit the magnificent palace, the abode of all happiness and pleasure. The prince, however, had not yielded to the supplications of the devoted servant, and had replied: 'Earthly passions, I know too well, O Chandaka, are the destruction of all virtue; I have known them and can no longer enjoy happiness; the sages avoid them like a serpent's head, and quit them for ever like an impure vessel. Rather would I be struck by a thunderbolt, or that showers of arrows and red-hot darts, like flashes of fire from the flaming heights of a mountain, should fall on my head, than that I should be born again to the cares and desires of a household'.
It was midnight when the prince left Kapilavastu, (The location of ancient Kapilavastu is still the subject of debate, although recognized by UNESCO to be in Nepal. Generally, most Indian guidebooks consider Piprahwa to be the real Kapilavastu, while other guidebooks consider Tilaurakot to be the real Kapilavastu.) and the star Pushya (Castor and Pollux), that had presided at his birth, was at that moment rising in the horizon. At the moment of quitting all that he had loved, the heart of the young man for an instant sank within him, and casting a last look at the palace and city he was forsaking: 'I shall not return to the city of Kapila' (Kapila being a Vedic sage credited as one of the founders of the Samkhya school of philosophy), he said in a low voice, 'till I have obtained the cessation of birth and death; I shall not return till I have attained the supreme abode exempt from age and death, and have found pure wisdom. When I return, the town of Kapila will stand upright, no longer weighed down by slumber.'
And, in fact, he did not see his father or Kapilavastu till twelve years later, when he converted them to the new Buddhist religion.
Meanwhile Siddhartha rode through the night; after leaving the country of the Sakyas, and that of the Kandyas, he passed through the country of the Mallas and the city of Meneya. By daybreak he had travelled a distance of about thirty-six miles. Then he leapt from his horse, and handing the reins to Chandaka he gave him also his cap with the clasp of pearls which adorned it, an ornament he deemed no longer necessary, and dismissed him.
The Lahta-vislara, from which most of these details are taken, adds, that at the spot where Chandaka left him, a chaitya, or sacred edifice, was raised; and 'to this day' says the writer, 'this monument bears the name of Chandaka Nivartana, that is "the return of Chandaka." Hiouen Thsang saw this stupa, which was, he says, built by the king Asoka on the edge of a great forest that Siddhartha must have passed through, and which was on the road to Kushinagar, Kusinagar or Kusinara a town and a nagar panchayat in Kushinagar district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, near border of Nepal. Now an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha died fifty-one years later.
Prince Siddhartha Story - Buddha
Text adapted from 'The Buddha and His Religion'
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