Biography of Buddha Sakyamuni
By Master XingYun
Chapter One Introduction
In order for us to know the contents of a religion, and whether or not the religion is indeed needed by us to live our lives, we must know its founder. Does he have the character, integrity, and wisdom which make him truly worthy of our worship and faith? If we indeed worship him and have faith in him, can he really provide guidance to free us from all the sorrows and pain in this life? I think that this is the first thing we need to know about our religion.
Our faith should not be for temporary relief and comfort in spirit, Instead, our goal for religion should be to elevate ourselves out of the painful cycles of life and death and to obtain everlasting peace and joy from the curses of sorrow. Therefore, before we commit ourselves to a faith, we should know about the its founder. Does he have a character and integrity which are beyond perfection? Is he truly cleaned and pure in himself? Has he transcended from the snares of this world? We should not neglect the answers to these questions.
Buddha Sakyamuni is born on April 8th, 464 BC in India, one of the four greatest civilizations in the world. This is recorded in the history throughout the world. Therefore, Buddha is not an invisible spirit, nor a God out of man's imagination. We know his birth time, place and his parents. After many years of pursuit in spiritual activities in hardships, eventually he perfected himself with great wisdom and understanding of the world, seen and unseen. This is universally recognized by the scholars and the religious all over the world.
Buddha Sakamuni has been born into this world. He grows up in the world, and transcends to be the Buddha in this world. He is the Light of Wisdom in our long lasting darkness. He is a saving boat carrying us through the immense ocean of endless bitterness. His character and personality demonstrate the most perfected realm. His purity and serenity are without any contamination of the world. He separates himself from the painful cycles of life and death. He lives in this world for forty years explaining the Dharma. He guides us in the path that leads to freedom and sublimity. The Dharma he leaves in this world flows out of his wisdom and conscience of his heart. Everything about it points to the way which leads us to joy from sorrow.
When we are embraced in the heart of Buddha, we are truly given a free mind. We can either take Buddhism as a religion, or we can study it like a doctrine. In the meantime, the Buddha Sakimuni can be revered as our model for life with the highest honor.
The Savior Buddha Sakimuni is the most sublime and the greatest Holy One. Buddhism is the religion with the most profound and the deepest teachings. Since the beginning of its circulation, Buddhism has been known throughout the world. Unfortunately, most of the advocates and the disciples only emphasize in its mysteries, but neglect the intentions and spirit by which the Buddha comes into this world. When in superficial the reality is neglected, Buddha's compassionate heart towards a fallen mankind is also ignored. Buddhism can be better honored and followed after, only when it is interpreted and lived in the spirit of salvation of mankind to awaken men's conscience lying dormant.
Chapter II The Indian Society of the Buddha's Lifetime
It is a misunderstanding to think that those who choose to follow the Buddha only do so to escape reality. They are mistaken as being passive and disillusioned of the world. The truth is Buddha chooses a religious life not only to save himself from the cycles of life and death in this sorrowful world, but also to save a people under oppression. If we know his life's experiences and strives, we will understand him as a compassionate Savior and a great revolutionary.
Those he fights against are: 1) The society of strict rankings of classes; 2) The religious authorities which offers no truth; 3) The selfish little "me' that is caught in the everlasting cycles of life and death.
There are many great revolutionaries in the world, but none of them are comparable to the spirit of Buddha. His heart is like Heaven above the earth in comparison to others.
The ordinary revolutionaries claim to be for the people, but the people never receive true happiness, because their revolutions are conducted according to the angers and hatred towards the enemy, therefore, they employ extreme and cruel methods. Whereas Buddha's revolution is inspired out of his heart of compassion. He applies mercy to cover and transform everything. He rejects violence. His revolution is not that of blood shed, but of peace. This is a true revolution.
The ordinary revolutionaries start from the bottom and work their way to the top. In their own lack of freedom, peace and joy, they know of other's sorrow. Therefore, they rise up to overthrow the domineering forces. But our Savior Buddha is an exception. He is born of a noble prince and lives a privileged life. He really does not need a revolution to make his life better. But he sees the multitudes under oppression. For the sake of justice and uprightness, he denies himself of the vain glory of a crown prince and rises up on behalf of the oppressed based on the principle that all men are created equal.
The ordinary revolutionaries all make the external world as their target, but few make internal revolutions. In another word, they only revolutionize others instead of themselves. Our Savior Buddha knows everyone of us has a selfish little me inside. Therefore,, everyone of us are ensnared in the endless worries and vexations living in darkness without light. To seek truth and freedom out of this bondage, he has to revolutionize against the desires of the five senses and the vain glory and riches in this world. He has to deny the contamination of all love in order to live a life of peace and contentment. This is true revolution.
To understand what the Buddha fights against, we must first know the organizations of the Indian society at the time. Secondly we must know the situations of the religious and the people's mindsets, and thirdly, we have to know the horror of this little 'me'. The situations of religious and the mindsets of the time will be discussed in the next chapter. The revolution against the selfish little me will be throughout this book. For now, I would like to explain the organization of the Indian society of that time.
The Indian society three thousand years ago is clearly distinguished between the overcomers and the overcome in the sharp divisions of trades and ranks of the races. The overcomers are divided between the aristocrats and the ordinaries; The overcome are the inferior races. They are the despised slaves.
The first class in the overcomers are the Brahmins. They are the religious of the ancient India. To maintain their privileges and sustain their noble social statues, they divide the entire society into four classes and position themselves on the top. Their authority and dominance are established on the "Manu Smriti". Everybody else has to accept and believe unconditionally.
The birth of this violent and perverse 'first class' disrupt the otherwise dreamlike leisure lifestyle and crushes their little life boat floating on the serene water of ocean-blue. The Brahmins ensnares the people with their lowly ceremonies, worships and prayers of curses.
The second class is the Kishatriya's. This is the royal lineage of equal honor to the Brahmins. Its members are like the warlords in the Chinese history of fragmented feudal society.
Since the beginning, the kingship is obtained from inheritance. The land and the treasure under the kingdom are all as if the private possession of the king. The people under the kingdom are all as if born to serve them in labor. India is no exception.
The third class is Vaisya. This class is equivalent to the class of peasants, workers, and merchants in Chinese history. They are oppressed by the Brahmins and the Ksatrya's. They do not have the rights to receive education. How pitiful!
The fourth class is Sudra. They are the slaves, recognized only to be born as a slave of labor. The Brahmins say that they are the degraded class, because they come to life in this world only for the first time. It is recorded in the unchallengeable Manu Smrit 8:270 and 272: The Sudra's are born to life for the first time. If they revile against those who are born again, their tongues must be cut off; If they revile against the names of those born again, there will insert into his mouth the needles of iron burned hot in fire; If he does not obey the command of a Brahman, the king can order to pour hot oil into his ears or his mouth." From this, we can tell the inferiority of the Sudra's and the horrific life they leave.
This is the situation of the Indian society of the time. It is not hard to imagine the hatred and resentment in the hearts of the lower classes of peasants, workers and merchants, and of Sudra's.
Buddha Sakyamunikya is born in this society of sharply divided classes. Even though he belongs to the royal lineage of Sakyamuni, yet he does not want to rule over the people with that authority and lord over them. Instead, he wants to apply the truth in mercy and equality to challenge this sharply divisive society. This fact is proved later on when he first attains immortality being transcended to Buddha. Under the Bodi tree, he pronounced that "all lives have the image and likeness of wisdom, capability and virtue in Buddha." Later, he also says that "All those who pursue a religious life have the same name of Sakyamuni.", promoting equality of life, and brotherhood of all within the four seas under heaven. He brings light for the people in this nation under oppression for several thousands of years.
Upali is a Barber among the class of Sudra. Later on he is recognized as one of the ten greatest disciples among all of Buddha's followers. The "Modern Girl" is a Sudra harlot. She meets Ananda one day and falls in love with him. She is touched and transformed by Buddha and instantly attains the level of understanding of Arahant. These deeds f Buddha abolish the domineering power and authority with great mercy and compassion in his belief that all men are created equal.
Chapter III The mindset of the Buddha's Contemporaries
India is a nation full of culture and traditions going back a long time. Because many warlords possess their own armies, so they subject themselves to no one. Three thousand years ago, Indian people have very advanced mindset with well developed philosophies, just like the Period of Spring and Autumn. But all the advancement are mixed with great confusion. The Brahmins take it as their exclusive rights to worship, study and conduct ceremonies. The define extremely detailed rules about literatures, expressions, and explanation of what is right or wrong, that everything becomes incredibly complicated and mysterious. They claim to do everything according to Heaven's will, but keep everything secretly under cover. It is inevitable for people to advance in wisdom and understanding. Therefore, they are afraid such development of intelligence may cause ordinary people to explore on their own, thus cause them to separate themselves from their mythology. Later on, the philosophy of naturalism spring up. Attempts are made to explain the universe with various substances, i.e., the theories of the ground, water and fire, etc. Others try to explain this world with abstract concepts, i.e., the theories of time, vanity, etc. Like moves of wind and clouds, all kinds of theories and arguments spring up in that timeframe, that ordinary people are just confused. This is the time of need for truth, for someone to show mankind the way to live above and beyond the mysteries created from the human imaginations. There is desperate need for a new and reformed religion which offers real solutions to the problems mankind faces. Buddha is born in such a time as this. He is like a pearl which calms and clarifies the mindset of the Indian people at the time which is like a filthy and muddy water in a pond. he provides guidance all the wanders lost in the wilderness to the path which leads to freedom.
Because of the inequality and discriminations among the classes, people live in great bondage, both physically and mentally. The weak minded morn for their misfortune in their misery in such a society. They turn passive in their mind. But the strong willed challenge the validity of the ancient religion. The secretly develop rebellion in their mind. On top of that, the followers of the Brahmins are extremely domineering and cruel. They make no favor in people's hearts. Therefore the people are divided in their mindsets to two extremes. Some of them follow the flow of the world according to their desires of the flesh. They live for pleasure. Others escape this world and engage in self imposed extreme suffering. The former delights in what they have in this material world. The later denies their physical needs. They despise this material world to total vanity. This is the contradiction of the thinking among the people at the time.
This is the world Buddha is born into. Seeing the development of the deformity in the thinking, he repels both extremes. His attitude towards this material world is neither spiritual only nor material only, but more of the middle road, or a balanced thinking. These thoughts evolves into a theory, or a doctrine. It saved the Indian society at the time, and saves all of us thousands of years later.
Chapter IV The Family Lineage of the Buddha
To know the family lineage of the Buddha, we must know the origin of the Name of Sakya. Between two to three thousand years before Buddha's birth, the Aryans has a big immigration movement in the middle Asia. They start moving towards India and Persia. At first the other native people in India reject them with violent resistance. But the Aryans are physically strong with white skin. They eventually overcome the most powerful Dravidian family, who are small in statue with dark skin. The Aryan family since takes over control of the entire nation. They establish many kingdoms and thus lay the foundation of the society in India. Among the conquers in the Aryan family is the Sakya's.
The remote ancestor of the Buddha is king 众所许 elected by the public. The name is passed down many generations to another king 大善王, who is the ancestor of Buddha Sakyamuni to the seventh generation. 大善王 begot 师摩懿. 师摩懿 begot 忧陀罗. 忧陀罗 begot 瞿罗. 瞿罗 has a son called Sihahanu and a daughter Yashodhara. Sihahanu has four sons. The eldest is the King Suddhodana who is Buddha's father.
King Suddhodana takes his uncle king of Devadaha's daughter Princess Maya and her younger sister Mahapajapati Gotami as his wives. Queen Maya is the mother of Buddha, who chooses a monastic lifestyle over the palace, and becomes the "Enlightened One".
Chapter V King Suddhodana and Queen Maya
On the south at the foot of snow covered mountains and flourishing forests was a wealthy and prosperous kingdom of Kapilavastu. King Suddhodana is the head of the clan. He is brave and capable, with superior wisdom and high virtues. Since he becomes the king, the kingdom has grown in peace and security. Because he rules in both benevolence and justice, he is well honored and revered by his court and his people. Sufficient are the food and clothing under his reign. The nation enjoys a precious time of freedom and serenity.
The young King Suddhodana obtains such success since youth. At home he is the head of the clan. Outside he is the leader of the whole nation. Therefore, he is well sought after by many princesses and noble maidens. They pray to become the bride of this young and mighty king.
Princess Maya was the daughter of King Anjana of the Koliyas, who is also the Buddha's uncle. She is beautiful comparable to the flowers in the garden and the moon in the sky. "But it was Maya's virtues and talents that were her most wonderful qualities, for she was endowed with the highest gifts of intelligence and piety" (Life of the Buddha http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/1lbud.htm). She is well know far and wide for her beauty and virtue. Therefore, theirs is a perfect fairytale marriage arranged by Heaven, between the young king and the beautiful princess. They enjoy perfect harmony in their marriage as if fish in water. They live the fairytale life as if Heaven on earth.
Year after year, season after season and time flows with their youthful lives. A shadow of concern slowly enters into their otherwise joyful relationship.
Day after day and year after year since their marriage, they fail to produce a prince who can inherit the throne.
The King Suddhodana often sigh when he returns to his palace before his gentle and kind queen after handling national affairs each day. The arrangement of the palace reminds him of his loneliness without a son. The Queen Maya understands her husband's heart. One day, the kind woman whose name means 'love' gently asks King Suddhodana :
" My king! We are slowly approaching old ages, but still have no son before us. You are the king of this nation. How can we get by without an heir?"
The King Suddhodana frowns with a sigh.
"My king! Listen to me." the Queen Maya sits next to the King Suddhodana: "May you not be so stubborn as in the past. May my king heed to my suggestion. Since the old times, every king's palace is full of ladies of consort. Why will you abolish this tradition? You see, you have no other women in the palace. Please find some beautiful women for yourself. maybe they will give you a lovely prince!"
The King Suddhodana replies sternly: "No. If I am destined by Heaven not to have an heir, then it will not matter if I have all the women in the whole world."
Though the King Suddhodana makes up his mind, but his sorrow grows everyday in his heart. Even more worried and vexed is the heart of the Queen Maya. She has the face like the full August Moon, and she has the heart as pure as the water lilies in the pond. Yet she can not give birth to a prince for this great kingdom Kapilavastu and for its king, her beloved husband King Suddhodana.
Then it comes the day when the Queen Maya is forty years old. In the quietness of the night, the Queen rests in her comfortable bed and has a dream. In the dream she sees a well dignified character slowly approaching from the sky riding on a white elephant. When comes near the lady, he enters into her belly from the right side. The queen wakes up startled, before she realizes that she just had a dream.
She tells the story to the King Suddhodana next to her. They both feel amazed by this dream.
Since she had this dream, the Queen Maya feels different from before. She is as if without worry and without any concerns and worldly desire. She is elevated above this world without greed, anger and vanity. instead, she spends her days in peace and joy each and every day. She does not like the crowds, but spends her time in the stillness and quietness of the deep forests or by the side of water.
Not too long afterwards, the Queen tell the king the news of her pregnancy. The King Suddhodana is overjoyed by this great news. Finally this dream has become true after only twenty years of waiting! All the anxiety and worry piled up in his heart for the last twenty years have been swept away. However, little does he know that this significant event only marks the beginning of the new spiritual journey for him, a rising to the new horizon.
Chapter VI The Birth of the Crown Prince in Lumbini Grove
Time passes away in joy and anticipation. The Queen Maya's pregnancy is approaching to its fullness, but she still enjoys walking in the quietness of the suburbs. The queen bathes herself in the sound of waters and colors of the flourishing trees and grasses. Such liveliness seems to nourish her soul and help her cultivate the nature of her own character. One day at the change of seasons when spring is turning into summer, the gentle wind blows, warm sun shines his light on earth, and the air seems clear and pure, the queen tells the King Suddhodana her plan for a sightseeing trip in the beautiful park called Lumbini Grove at the suburbs of the kingdom Kapilavastu. Afterwards she plans to go back to her parent's house in order to give birth according to the tradition at the time. The King Suddhodana is aware of the tradition, yet he does not understand why she still wants to go sightseeing, with full pregnancy. After hesitating for a while, he gives order for more maidservants to accompany his wife. He also makes plan to accompany his wife in the trip.
Not too long after their arrival in the beautiful Lumbini Groove, the queen gives birth to a prince under the shades of a flourishing tree with dense branches and leaves on the top as if a crown. The queen does not feel any discomfort even right after giving birth. The new born crown prince is also extremely peaceful.
The Sun seems to shine with extraordinary brightness. Beautiful flowers are all over the garden with full bloom. Birds cheerfully sing their melodies. All nature seems to be joining together in celebration of the birth of the crown prince into this world.
The truth is that the birth of the crown prince is accompanied with all kinds of extraordinary visions and mysterious signs from heaven as if a blessing. Not too long after his birth, he takes seven steps by himself while lifting up his eyes looking around the world. The Infant says as he is walking: "The will be my last birth into mankind. I am birthed in order to become the 'Enlightened One', or the Buddha. I am the greatest and the most honorable 'Awakened One'. I will give understanding to all mankind.'" After he speaks these words, two streams of pure water are poured down straight from Heaven like two ropes of silver, one stream warm and the other cool. They bathed the new crown prince and refreshes him body and soul.
There appear in Heaven many heavenly kings and divine beings. The heavenly king lifted up the four legs of a glass bed. Angels lift up the previous umbrella on the top. Numerous heavenly beings appear in the sky, all to celebrate the birth of the new crown prince, the future Enlightened One'.
The crown prince and the queen sleep comfortably in the be. The King Suddhodana stands next to them full of joy and amazement. Just then, a clothe fell off from heaven and covers the new prince's body. The wood already consumed by the fire is ignited again. The muddy waters all become clear and lovely. All the flowers in various colors seem to become now wonderful to look at emitting aromas. The most reviled souls suddenly develop mercy in their hearts. The mourning sick are hilled without any treatment. Many noisy and unsettled birds and animals become quiet. Tyrants of the world turn to rulers of wisdom and benevolence. The whole world becomes peaceful and full of serenity. People all over the world even from the most secluded corners sense this unusual auspicious sign. They see not with their physical eyes, but with the eyes of their heart in their awakened conscience. Tens of thousands gather in the beautiful Lumbini Grove, where the future Buddha is born.
Chapter VII The Astrologer's Prophecy
The King Suddhodana see all the extraordinary signs and wonders at the birth of the crown prince. He is both delighted and worried.
At that time there is an Brahmin's astrologer near by. He is well learned, full of wisdom and eloquent in his speeches. He runs near and asks the permission to tell the crown prince's future. The king is indeed in the dilemma, not sure what to think about the signs and wonders. So he gives his permission. The astrologer looks at the new prince sleeping peacefully, then he turns to the king and starts talking:
"My king! Everyone in the world hopes for an extraordinary son. My king now has this crown prince who is perfect like the full Moon. He is the glory of the Shakya Family. Congratulations on this blessing. Now my King, please do not be troubled in your heart. Let me tell you about him so you know there is no reason to wonder."
"Scholar, you are exactly right. I am indeed worried and I wonder what all these mean!"
"Let my king not be troubled. Moreover, let the king give order to the entire nation to celebrate his birth. From now on, he will be the glory of our nation, because such an wise and enlightened prince is now birthed into our kingdom. He is destined to become the Savior of the mankind. When I revered his face, I see he is way higher than the wise or the learned scholars in this world. He is for sure to open up our hearts and eyes to the way of elevation and relief for the entire mankind. If he will inherit your throne, then he will not only be a sovereign ruler for this kingdom, but he will be an unusual holy sovereign ruler over the world. He will govern with benevolence and justice in his reign of the kingdom. Many kings on earth will bend their knees and bow down before him. He can bless this world with light!"
"Scholar, is that really! He will rule all over the world. This is indeed great." The king burst into a big smile."
"Nevertheless," The scholar says solemnly: "If he despises the hustle and bustle of this world, and prefers the quietness of the mountains and the forests, he will then attain the highest solution with true wisdom and understanding that will ultimately relieve mankind from the misery of this life. He will be the most honorable Buddha, the greatest and noblest Awakened One. He is among the human beings as the mountain Mishan is the king above all mountains. Gold is more precious than all the other treasures. The ocean is the most immense of all waters. The moon shines the brightest among all the stars in the sky, and the Sun is the greatest light of all lights. The Buddha is the Teacher for the entire mankind. Nothing is comparable to him."
"Scholar! How do you know that when he grown up he will enjoy stillness and quietness, and will choose a monastic lifestyle?" The king asks doubtfully.
The scholar says point at the new crown prince:
"Look at his honorable face. His eyes are bright with an elongated shape. His eyebrows are long and dense. His eye balls are dark and clear in color, and the ridge of his nose is tall and straight. Such a face is for sure no ordinary. He will attain the level of Buddha. May my king not be troubled any more but hurry to celebrate!"
Hearing what the Brahmin's astrologer has to say, the king once again starts wonder. He asks:
"My most respected scholar! If what you said is true, then, why is he not born as the heir to my father who was a virtuous and benevolent king, but is born to me, one who is truly unworthy?"
"My king! This is not the way of understanding!" The Brahmin's astrologer shakes his head: "Everyone has his own destiny, even born to the same parents in the same family. There are those who are advanced in wisdom and understanding. Some are widely respected and honored, well learned and very knowledgeable. Some have very successful careers. Others are shallow and foolish. Their names are known far and wide because of their evil. They have no success in what they do. Such is not determined by their birth order. You should now delight in his extraordinary future and depart from your sorrow and worry!"
The king is delighted after hearing this:
"I am indeed fortunate to have this extraordinary son! I am approaching old age each and every day. I hope that he will grow up soon to inherit my throne. By then, I would like to retreat into the depth of the mountains and forests to live a monastic life, so that I will obtain happiness in my next life. I shall not let my crown prince to deny his crown to lead this lifestyle, so that I may not have an heir."
The king then gives a huge reward to the Brahmin's astrologer. After his departure, he orders his servants to carefully protect the queen and the prince back to the palace.
After they return to the palace and settle down, a guard runs over to the king and reports that a sage who is committed to a life of suffering is outside the palace and requesting the audience of the new born Prince.
This sage is a most respected wise man among all the Brahmin's scholars. He separates himself from the desires of the flesh and often enters into a state of trance. The king is humble and respectful to the virtuous and wise. So he gives order to the guards to invite the sage inside.
Asita enters into the palace. The king humbly inquires of him:
"My most respected sage! I am now the luckiest king in the whole world. I have a priceless treasure, because an extraordinary crown prince is born to me. Please help me look into his future.
Hearing this, Asita says to the king gladly:
"My true and merciful king! You have both wisdom and benevolence. Your nation is flouring. You reign and rule in justice covering the people in the kingdom with compassion. The seeds plated in the past are now yielding good fruits. My king! This is exactly why I come to the palace. Please hear me. In trance today I hear a divine being telling me: "King Shuddhodana
has born a crown prince. He is indeed the future Buddha. He will teach the great Dharma like all the Buddha's in the past. He will teach mankind the highest truth that leads to true freedom from the sufferings of this life and therefore transform human race." My king! o fortunate king! I come to the palace for no other reason, but to worship this future Enlightened One of the universe!"
Hearing this from Asita, King Shuddhodana orders the maidservants to carry the crown prince out to show to him.
In reverence, Asita looks at the perfect crown prince. This is a face of the future Buddha, with every good sign there is without any blemish. Asita has never seen a face like that one. he is overtaken by amazement. With eyes rolling and tongue sticking, Asita sighs and mourns shedding many tears.
This surprises King Shuddhodana seeing him turning from joy to sorrow. He is afraid that there may be some misfortune in the future of his beloved son, so much so he shakes in fear and trembling and almost got suffocated. In horror he rises from his throne and asks Asita:
"Sage! Why are you like this? Did not you say when you first came that my crown prince has a remarkably face indicating him as the most honorable and most extraordinary among all men? Why then are you so sorrowful and worrisome after you see him? Is there any misfortune in him so that you cry like this? Or do you think I am like one just receiving pure water after suffering from long thirst, but will still lose it? Or is the birth of the crown prince will result in the loss of fortune, defeat of the family and the kingdom? I will tell the sage right now, if only my crown prince will grow up to maturity, even if my kingdom will become subdued by somebody else and all my treasures are lost, I will have no regret! Sage! Tell me why you cry? Why do you mourn? Please let me know now so that I can have peace in heart!"
The king only begets this heir in his old age. It is inevitable that he cares about him more than his own life. Seeing the worries and concerns written all over the king, Asita tells him in honesty and reverence:
"My king! Let your heart not be so troubled. There has changed from what I told you before, now that I behold the face of the crown prince. It is my privilege to see his face today. I am only sad because I know I am in my old age and will not be long in this life. I will not be able to hear his teaching in my life! This is why I am overcome by grievance."
"Will he really live a monastic lifestyle and become the Buddha?" The king is now concerned.
"My king! The birth of this crown prince marks the last chance of salvation for mankind. For him to be in this world, is as if beyond imagination. For the king to obtain such a crown price, it is a blessing, not only for the king, but also for the entire mankind. The king receives such priceless treasure. He will be the Savior for the entire mankind. Yes, he will leave this palace and become a Buddha, the Enlightened One!"
"How can this be? Who is going to inherit my throne?"
"My king! Your crown prince will not be tied down to this realm of desires before our eyes. He will deny the throne in pursuit of true wisdom and understanding outside of this world. Only he can save the entire living beings in ignorance from worries and misery in sin. He is indeed the Enlightened One everlasting in this world! My king! Indeed I am now old so I will not have the privilege to here his ultimate wisdom. Even though now I am obtained some understanding, but without hearing his true wisdom, I indeed will not know the way that will elevate me to the cycles of this world. Once my life comes to the end and my body becomes corrupt, I indeed will not be able to enter the highest Heaven. Ah!"
Asita finishes his speech with a long sigh from the depth of his heart. The king, the relatives and even the maidservants around him are relieved from their worries, knowing the reason of his tears. But their concerns also increase.
The king is deeply grieved in his heart, hearing that his new crown prince will not inherit the throne, but will seek a monastic lifestyle. Seeing that, Asita says again:
"My king! Verily I tell you. It is indeed what you are thinking in your heart. The crown prince will leave your palace to pursue the ultimate wisdom. He will be the Buddha!"
After this, Asita pays homage to the crown prince and departs from the palace.
Although feeling disappointed and empty in heart, the king develops a sense of honor and respect towards his prince. He gives command right away, to open up all prison doors in his kingdom and gives pardon to all the prisoners. All those in hard labors are given a time of rest. He also gives order to offer delicacies to the religious Brahmins, to worship every good god in the temples, to give his court officers precious gifts as awards, and to distribute food and drinks to all the poor beggars in his kingdom as a charity. Even all the guards and maidservants in the palace receive gifts of gold, silver, oxen, houses and elephants. The entire kingdom are inspired and all starts celebration for the birth of the crown prince in the kingdom.
Chapter VIII The Education of the Young Prince
After the birth of the crown prince in the kingdom of Kapilvastu, many of the members of the royal family and even the kings in the neighboring kingdom all give numerous offers of elephants, horses, wagons and other vessels, in celebration of his birth and goodwill wishes for a long life.
In the meantime, numerous treasures in the capital city of Kapilvastu. emerge above the ground. Numerous elephants rush into the city from the Mountains of Himalaya. The wild horses are now tamed like little lambs. All kinds of colorful birds gather in the city from the wilderness chirping. The white clouds gently floats in the sky and the flowers blossom smiling on earth.
Those who harbor resentment in heart turn to peace. The close friends become even more intimate in their friendships. The heart of rebellion vanishes without trace. The evil intentions in treacherous hearts disappear. The wind blows in gentleness. The rain falls in due season. The thunder does not cause harm. The harvest is gathered like small mountains. The food consumed is easy to digest, and the pregnant have peace and comfort. All people are blessed because of the birth of this special crown prince.
The temples grow in solemnity, and the gardens become more beautiful. The water in the wells, springs, and ponds are purified like bright mirrors. There are no more wars and sicknesses. No disputes are unsettled between the neighbors. The neighboring kingdoms are friendly to each other and all human beings are like brothers. Such harmony in the world is in celebration of the birth of the crown prince.
On the fifth day after his birth, there is a grand ceremony going on. All of the authorities and scholars of the Brahmins gather in discussion to select a name for the crown prince, at the earnest request from the king. Because of all the auspicious signs and wonders at the birth of the prince, they decide the name of Siddhartha, meaning: "all righteousness accomplished'. There is no better name for the crown prince than this.
The celebration continues day after day in the kingdom of Kapilvastu until the seventh day, when a misfortune occurs. The prince's mother Queen Maya leaves this world.
Fortunately, the queen has a younger sister Maha Pajapati. After her older sister's death. Maha Pajapati volunters herself to bring up the young prince in her sister's place. Maha Pajapati is beautiful in appearance and kind in nature. Later on, she gives birth to her own son, but that does not stop her tender kindness in taking care of the crown prince, and heir of the throne left by her older sister.
Even with the tender care of his aunt Maha Pajapati, the king is still not assured of the child's safety and comfort. He chooses thirty two maidservants to help Maha Pajapati, eight to hold him. Eight to bath him, eight to nurse him, and eight to play with him. There is nothing but peace and happiness in his infancy.
Time flies and the prince grows to a lively child. He is surrounded by many toys suitable for a child of his age. But the prince is born with superior nature. Even as a child, he has a natural solemnity in his appearance. He is very quiet for his age.
the heart of the crown prince is in another realm, much higher and superior. He is not to be distracted by the exquisite toys of all kinds created by men.
Since age six to seven, the crown prince has been studying under well known teachers. At that time the highest education in India includes "Five Lights' and "Four Vedas".
The five lights are:
1) The light of sound in language;
2) The light of intricacy in craftsmanship
3) The light of medicine
4) The light of ethics as a cause 'of results'
5) The interior light of religion
The four Vedas are:
1) RGVeda for wellness of body and soul
2) SamaVeda for praises and worship
3) Yahurveda for study of the art of war
4) Atharvaveda for curses
From the age seven to twelve, the crown prince studies the science of the 'five lights' and the philosophy of the 'four vedas'. He becomes very proficient in them. If there is one in the world who can expand his knowledge a hundred times from everything he learns, this one is the crown prince.
Seeing the brightness of his prince, the king is very delighted. He invites all the well known scholars in his kingdom to teach the crown prince. It does not take long before they are subdued by his wisdom and capabilities. They have to resign from being his teacher.
With the solid foundation in literature, science and philosophy, the crown prince starts military training. He is born with strong muscles. He quickly masters all the arts of war and various weaponries.
With all his heart and all he is capable to do, the king wants to raise up his prince a wise sovereign ruler mastering both the civil and military affairs. He knows the situation of India at the time. Many small kingdoms are established competing with each other and striving for dominance. The Shakya family of the kingdom of Kapilavastu is well respected among the kingdoms of the nation Nevertheless, up south of the kingdom are a couple of other kingdoms growing strong. Mapilavastu is often threatened by them. Therefore, the king is under hope that one day a virtuous and benevolent sovereign ruler will rise up in India. He will bring unity and peace to the entire nation. And he hopes that this sovereign ruler will be his own extraordinary crown prince, who is both wise and kind beyond measure.
In order to propagate the art of war, one day the king orders a competition. During the competition of archery, the prince's cousin shoots through three iron drums with his arrow. His younger brother also shoots through three, winning many applauds from the audience. When it is the crown prince's turn, he asks for a stronger bow and orders to take the bow of his ancestors. He lifts up his bow to his chest and releases the arrow. It goes through seven drums made of iron. The audience cheer loudly and clap like thunder when they see the strength of the their crown prince. For sure this future king will unite the nation of India into one unified kingdom!
The king looks at his crown prince and the audience. He bursts into a proud smile from inside out.
I am sometimes amazed of my own ignorance or boldness embracing such a journey like translating a book about the life of the Buddha, who is the Enlightened One, representing the ultimate wisdom and understanding of the universe. Nevertheless, I am here, finding myself struggling with the ancient Indian history, and just indeed exactly what is his teaching of enlightenment.
This morning I had a dream. A few of us stood in a line waiting in the dim light to go somewhere. Before us was the commander. He gave a brief order. Next to him was a smaller figure, his translator. After the commander gave a simple command, he started speaking. He went on and on and got us all confused and lost, not knowing what he was trying to say. Finally I saw a building on our left. So I said bluntly: O, there is a church. He is just saying the name of the church. So I was the last in the line. I followed the others. There before me was my sandals, but for some reason I did not put them on. Instead, I went barefoot with them. We passed by some rocky ground. I said, O no, these rocks! I tried to tiptoe on them. Then we went inside the building and climbed a few flights upwards. There were no hard rocks on the stairs, but they are full of dust. On the edges were piles of dust cemented. The building is in need of cleaning and care. I felt more and more uneasy, for not wearing my sandals. So I said to the lady before me, who appears to be my friend and who called me in this journey: I have to go back to put my shoes on. You have my cell phone. Call me when you arrive and tell me where you are, so I can find you." Then I ran away.
I am not sure where my sandals are and how I can put them on. But I translated a couple of more chapters this morning and finished cleaning my house for the coming holidays. In the process of cleaning, I understood the dream.
Yesterday I peeked into the Christian TV. I saw a kingdom teacher quoting Gospel of Mark and telling his audience that everything in Jesus' kingdom has been promised to us. So dare to believe. Another one said something about believing God in your circumstances. And another famous preacher was on the air speaking with all his anointing. I listened for a few moments, but could not hear a single word of what he said or what he was trying to say. I have dreamed about this one a few times. He argues with me on and on, one time even seating in my living room. Obviously he does not know me, but God sometimes gives me weired dreams.
So the Buddhism is the oldest religion of the world. Some claim that it is only a way of life, hardly a religion, because it does not have a God like all the other religion. This shows our ignorance about God. All other religions have an image of who their God is, but Buddha is all encompassing and all inclusive. He is the God of all gods, the Father God in heaven and above. Like the ocean receiving its water embracing even the tiniest drop, without letting them contaminate his own purity and holiness. This is Buddha. How can the little drops o water comprehend what the Ocean is like? Jesus said himself that the Father is greater than he is.
Enlightenment is not a birth gift. Buddha is said to have come down to this world numerous times in all shapes and forms, human and animals. I had a hard time translating about Him having compassion over all life, in the Chinese expression. I thought to myself: All life? including animals and all the primitive lives in existence? I found it incredible. So I translated to all mankind. How I limited His Heart! He is for sure the God of all, humans and animals and even insects.
With all the signs and wonders and miracles that come with his birth, demonstrating the kind of peaceful life and serenity God desires to bring to this world, Buddha could not stop his own nation massacres and all the other evils in this world. He was not born with the gift of enlightenment, instead, he had to go through many hardships and failures in order to reach such enlightenment with understanding. Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered, says the bible. His mission on earth is sacrifices and demonstration of servanthood. The ancient sages in Chinese history learned to connect with Heave's flow spending time in stillness and quietness, with an inquisive mind. The understanding and civilization of mankind is a progress, built up on many generations' seeking and laboring, in pain and sorrow. Yet nothing seem to be elevating us from the snares of the sorrow in this life. What is the escape or deliverance from sickness, old age, even death and pain in this life? Do we truly have to wait till we die? Even after we die, don't we just take our miserable souls with us everywhere we go? Buddhism teaches that yes we do. Life starts again after death. We are trapped in the never ending misery, consumed in the fires of hell which are burning in our own hearts: the greed, the anger, and the ignorance. nevertheless, walking in the light Buddha gave to us, we can, elevate ourselves from the hell within, and transcend greed to generousity, anger to compassion, and ignorance to wisdom.
Christians say, now, we have all these because Jesus died for us so we can have. Come on, I have seen some most unhappy people in the world. They all claim to be Christians. Why are we unhappy? because we are angry. We are angry, because something we lust after we could not get. We are consumed in all these fires because we are ignorant without enlightenment. Why do you pray, fast and strive so hard for your so called 'breakthroughs'? because you are miserable in life and you want a change. Little do you know, or you do know but you refuse to admit, is that you are just moving from one breakthrough to the next. Hell is in your own heart. Someone may give you a thousand dollars. You cheer for your breakthrough. So you use the money to buy dog food and soda and a few pretty garments or something about your hair. Before long the money is gone and your are still in the debt you never intended to pay. You are miserable in one job, because they demand so much from you. You got an easy one but you are now more miserable, because this is a downgrade. You feel cheated and offended because how dare they pay you so little and make you do some degrading work! You deserve more. This, is the misery of sin Christians are ensnared in. This, I will have to say, is not the kind of Christianity in the Bible. How it got here today is a mystery to me and I have no intention trying to figure this one out.
In order to seek ultimate wisdom to save mankind from the never ending misery of the cycles in life and death, Buddha did everything he could. He studied under a couple of hermits but quickly found what they teach is no solution to life's misery. He practiced hermit lifestyle, eating one grain each day all the way till he almost died. he gained understanding from that experience that he would have died if he continue, without gaining any understanding. Therefore, denying the needs of the body is no way to freedom and happiness. The basic needs of the body should be fulfilled in order for one to be happy. So he starts eating. Afterwards he is determined to gain ultimate understanding and wisdom before he moves again. And he attained the goal and thus become the Buddha, the Enlighted One, or the Awakened One.
I have to confess that I have much to learn about his teaching, because I am totally ignorant. But I do know those who practice Buddhism have not all been enlightened. Some practice extreme charity, so much so they neglect their responsibility to their own families. They could have done so by ignorance, or they could do so even out of greed, to do good in order to obtain a better life next round, or later in life. Therefore, they give and do charity without considering any consequence. They are not enlightened beyond this world, but still very much in the cycle of the misery between life and death.
I watched a show about the legends of Guanyin bodhisattva, or the Goddess of Mercy. There was a well known good man who is kind to everybody else giving the last penny to save a woman. One day after dismissed from an employment, he went home asking for food from his wife, who had been waiting eagerly for his paycheck to buy food. but on the way back he gave away his money in entirety to a woman in need. They had three measures of beans left in the house. His wife was going to cook the beans for food. Just then a neighbor came by to ask for food. This gentlemen give him their beans. The wife got up and went back to her parents.
Later on, the Goddess of Mercy somehow gave him a hundred liang of silver, which is sufficient for him to open up a small pharmacy. He continued in his deeds of charity, neglecting his wife. Eventually she had an affair with a neighbor. The neighbor grow discontent with the secret relationship. So he took a chopping knife and snuck into this man's house. He killed the wife instead in the darkness of the night.
Now, this woman's affair was known to all the townsfolk, except the good man. Everybody wondered, why such a good man deserves a wicked adulterous wife like this. This man was suspected of murdering his wife but the real murderer was caught and he was acquitted of the charge.
Disillusioned, he vowed to cut off his hair and commit to the monastic life from then on. The Goddess of Mercy said to her companions: "Buddhist temple is not a place of escape. This good man is not enlightened yet. He does not belong to the Buddhist family." In her mercy, she made arrangements for him to marry the woman whom he saved with his wages which he denied of his own wife. This woman became his wife. Her son became a high official in the capital. He lived a happy, and good life with her family for the rest of his life.
He sowed and he reaped. Many are his good deeds but he fell short of enlightenment. He neglected his responsibility in life. Because of his ignorance, or even greed, he sacrificed his wife to death in hell to pursue a better life for himself. Confucius taught one's fist priority is to first cultivate one's own character to become a better person, and take responsibility for a happy and healthy family, before one can engage in governing the nation and then even help bring peace in the whole world under Heaven.
Just exactly how do we reach to the realm of peace and serenity even in this life, and get beyond the cycle of life and death and become like Buddha? I would like to learn more of Buddha's teachings and embrace this journey forward. All living beings are given the potential of Buddha's enlightenment in us. The Buddha told his followers in his old age, weakened and frail because of old age: I have taught you the ultimate wisdom. But I am not your light. Now, be your own light.
How do I interpret Buddha saying that he is not my light? Just because I claim to be a believer or follower of Buddha does not mean I am Buddha. I am required to walk and live the light within me, given as a gift from Heaven, waiting to be awakened in us.
May God have mercy on our souls!
This morning I had an unpleasant dream. I was somewhere maybe a college dorm trying to do laundry. There were women everywhere, including the laundry room. My laundry machine broke or I did not have coin to use or something. I asked someone then hurried upstairs to look for the manager, but I was told that she already went to the room. I thought, what am I going to do? I do not know her. Just then she came upstairs. As she turns her face towards me, I see that she is indeed dark, though smiling.
(Later on I will learn that when I get too close to such a woman, I will lose peace. And this will be a good time to get away and go put on my shoes. What is so special about sacrificing your son in order to gain the love of this world for yourself? This is a woman of vicious heart. A mother ought to sacrifice herself for the wellbeing of her son. This is the call of Heaven for the mothers. Even if you love others in this world, then sacrifice yourself. Give something of you, not your son. Do you possess your son? He is an independent being, not of your own. What a shameless wretch!)
Then I saw a big pile of coins. I ignored them. A woman told me she got some fresh cut meat to distribute among the fellow students. I saw a big pork leg. But when she got the meat here, the leg was gone. There was a slab of rib and a big chicken cleaned of its feathers. She told me to pick, but I did not know which one to pick. After a little hesitation, I was leaning towards the rib. But she quickly picked it up and said, I will save this for myself. So I said, ok, I will take the chicken. That was a very stressful dream.
Heaven is telling me how unwise I was and his judgment is indeed not my judgment. This channel has limited Heaven's flow with my personal feelings.
The truth is yesterday when I flipped the channels, I also flipped into EWTN. I saw Pope Frances continuing operating in his humility extending goodwill to the world, and to the other Christian communities. He is a true leader who works tirelessly on Heaven's mission to bring unity and peace in this world, especially the family of Christians. I also saw a priest on screen in solemnity teaching the Bible. I have seen this father before. But yesterday I saw him for the first time teaching with zeal and resolution. I thought to myself, dare I believe that he has received new energy from Heaven? I did not want to mention the Catholic church, because I kind of thinking they can take care of themselves being strong and big and much more mature than the evangelicals. But they do operate the washing machine on earth. It has been shown to me more than once in my dreams, that theirs is a Heavenly operation. Regardless how we may not understand sometimes, this mission is entrusted to them by Heaven out of mercy. We all need to wash our garments.
The pork leg probably represents the kingdom teachers I criticized. The leg symbolizes strength. They often transgress the messages given to them and they take over control ignoring the true commander, This is a very serious breach. Nevertheless, they are called to be Heaven's messengers and they do stand next to the commander. The judgment here will be according to their faithfulness to the one who entrusted them with the message, which is their works, not according to their strength or 'anointing' which is given. Therefore, hold back your own 'anointing' and be humble and be faithful.
I don't know why I chose a big and fat chicken for myself and not sure what to do with it. They do make delicious stews but I have not cut it up and cook it. One time this chicken sat in my living room and argued with me. I have since driven him out of my house. As far as I know, I have never invited him back and he showed no desire either even want a visit. What does a chicken represent? cowards. Given wings but refuse to fly. Knowing the truth but reject it, thus he rejects Heaven. This is also a choice he makes for himself. Now I don't know what to do with it. I need Buddha's wisdom on this one. I have indeed rejected what is good and chose evil for myself. This is how foolish I am.
O Lord, what am I going to do now? This new journey seems like a women's dorm. I always get lost with many of them around me. I hear their conversations and lack wisdom and discernment.
Help! I need enlightenment!
Chapter IX The Beautiful Princess Yaśodharā
The young prince is very handsome and therefore well sought out. Many royal princesses and noble women desire his hands for marriage. The extravagant parties and joyful dances are his daily life, but they are hardly appealing to him.
The king wants to do everything in his power to keep his crown prince in this world so to prevent him from seeking a monastic life. His plan for his son contradicts what is prophesied by Asita. For him being a world's king is much more important than becoming One enlightened in mind. Nevertheless, the prince only grows wary and unsettled in his mind.
Now the king becomes really worried. In his heart, his son has a noble heart and kind nature. He is faithful and honest, well honored and revered by the people in his kingdom. He has exceptional physical strength and he mastered martial arts and is well learned in military strategies and tactics. He is well know all around and feared by the enemies. He just cannot believe why such a virtuous prince who seems perfect in everyway will be so indifferent to the glory and riches of this world. The king wants to arouse his son's interest in this world. Yet he can think of no other temptations than the treasures and the beautiful women.
Therefore, he orders to gather all the well known architects and engineers to build seasonal palaces for the crown prince, so that he will not have to experience the change of seasons and thus remind of unhappy feelings. In the palaces are the nonstop music playing and dancing. But all these cannot make him feel happy!
This is not without cause. Though the prince lives in the depth of the palace, but he is already aware of the sharp distinction or discrimination among different classes. He wonders why such inequality from man to man? Why the poor masses cannot live a happy life and enjoy freedom? How can this unequal society be transformed? These questions continuously occupy his heart and mind.
He remembers the time at youth when he went with his father to inspect the countryside. He saw everyone in hard labor under the scorching Sun shedding sweat. They had no rest. Whereas he and his father were covered under the luxurious umbrella and rode on wagons pulled by horses wandering around in leisure. This is simply unfair!
He also see the insects, big and small, unsoiled by the farmers as they cultivate the ground. As they try to get back in the soil, birds flock over to consume them. The weak is consumed by those who are strong. How cruel and ruthless this world is! This is indeed horrible and painful!
The crown prince at the time does not despise this world, nor is he concerned for lack of happiness of his own. Instead, watching the unfairness of the society and the misery of the living beings, he just cannot get over with the sadness lingering in his heart and his mind.
Watching his beloved son meditating in silence all day long, the king is filled with sorrow. When his son turns seventeen years of age, he chose for a beautiful princess Yaśodharā as his bride, hoping this bride will turn his sorrow into happiness and joy.
Princess Yaśodharā is the eldest daughter of King Suppabuddha of a neighboring kingdom. Her fine statue is like the willow branches of the early spring; Her face is like a beautiful fairy descended on earth. Surely, the king thinks, that a beautiful bride, fine wine and sweet music will bind the heart of his son in the pleasures of this world and prevent him from seeking a monastic lifestyle. The prince is not void of desires of human flesh. Nevertheless, he knows such pleasures will not yield a lasting satisfaction. On the surface, the prince also smiles, but deep down his feelings of loneliness and emptiness grow every day.
The king is delighted to see the smiles on his son's face. He vows that he will also cultivate his own personal character in quietness and with diligence. He will rule his kingdom with benevolence and spread virtue and give grace in his governance far and wide. He will draw near tot he holy and noble ones and stay away from the evil. He will use kindness and mercy upon his people and abstain from reckless actions but made decisions after due diligence. Not only he will do so himself, he also orders his court officers and the Brahmins all over his kingdom to abolish using trickery but to learn the honest and just ways in reigning and ruling the kingdom and aid the suffering people, to worship all the merciful gods in Heaven ad pray for peace and joy for the people. He does all these in hope to bring blessings for his crown prince. The king's heart is now as pure as that of a simple and primitive person without any distraction or calculation.
In such a palace well protected by his father, the crown prince and his beautiful bride, the princess Yaśodhara give birth to a son Rāhula.
His father is full of joy. He thinks in his heart: "I love my son Siddhartha. He must love his son just as I love him. Now fore sure he will not leave the palace and pursue a out-of-the-world lifestyle. This grandson is my only hope."
Unlike all the other kings and any father in this world, whose concern for their sons are that they might live a life of indulgence in the lust of their flesh, king Śuddhodana did all he can to indulge his son in the pleasures of this world. His hope is that the crown prince will love everything this world has to offer and lust after fame and fortune, so that will have no time to think about the pursing a life outside of the world at his young age. The other sages practice monasticism only after they have exhausted the enjoyment in what the world has to offer. Now it is the time for him to give this throne to the prince so that he can go to the depth of mountains and forests seeking illumination of mind and holiness in nature. Now it is the time for the crown prince to have fun and enjoy every happiness in this world. Therefore, he makes sure that everything about the crown prince is taken proper care of.
Chapter X The Crown Prince's Sightseeing Trip
The happiness in the palace continues day after day. In time the crown prince grows wary again, of the crowds, and the hustles and bustles. The impressions of the multitudes of the suffering people are engraved in his heart, that even the beautiful wife and a new born son cannot overtake them. His heart is so big that they cannot fill it up but he truly carries the entire living beings in him.
Even though the crown prince lives in the palace full of the temptations of sound and richness in colors, but he really enjoys walking in the quietness, or meditating in the silence of the world. He is like an elephant, maybe placed in an extravagant room, but his heart remains in the vastness of the wilderness where green grasses grow in freedom.
One day, the crown prince requests of his father that he wants to make a trip into the garden outside the city. Right away, the king orders preparation of a decorated wagon. Servants sweep clean the streets and pick up all trash along the way. The king gives strict order that no elderly, sickly, dead corpses, poor people. or the beggars will be allowed along the way, for fear that the crown prince lay his eyes on them and become weary. The king also commands many officers to follow the crown prince in this trip to observe his face. They are to report to him any of his emotions, either in gladness or in sadness.
On this day, the streets of the capital city of the kingdom Kapilavastu are adorned with silk veils and precious curtains. The charioteer Channa drives the prince's wagon through the streets. Many people gather along the streets to solute to their crown prince with chanting: Long live the crown prince!
Now outside the capital, the prince sees a strange figure in distance. He is old and extremely frail. The crown prince is horrified. He asks his charioteer Channa:
"Channa, is that an old man? You see his hair is all white. His back is hump. His eyes are dim and body shaking. Why does he have to walk with a stick? Channa! Has he just become like that, or is he born like this?"
The charioteer Channa faces a dilemma. If he speaks truthfully, then the crown prince surely will be saddened. But if he does not speak truthfully, he does not know how to do so without lying to this wise and virtuous master.
Channa hesitates not knowing what to do.
"Channa! Why is he like that? Has he just become like that, or is he destined to be like that?" The prince already knows that men grow old in a process, but he still laments the poor image that he sees.
With the urge of the crown prince, Channa has to reply truthfully:
"My prince! I am sure you know that he is an old man. Please observe his face. When man grows old, his color fades; His memory recedes; and he grows weary but decreases in joy. The liveliness of his eyes, ears nose and tongue is no longer like his youth. He is not born with this image. Instead, when he was first born, he also started a nursing infant. Then he grows into playfulness of a child. Later on in his life, he becomes a slave of his lust. Now his days of strength have been spent so he gradually become old as he is today. It will not be long before his body will be destroyed because of old age.
The crown prince sighs. Then he asks Channa again:
"Channa! There are so many people in this world. Tell me, is he the only one who will grow old, or will we also have to go through this illness?"
Channa replies respectfully:
"My prince! It is inevitable for any human beings in this world to grow old. This illness of aging is regardless of rich or poor, high or low, regardless of the king or the honorable. Everyone approaches the end like this. Even now, we are growing old moment by moment. My Prince! Regardless we are in youth or adulthood, no one can avoid aging!"
Hearing the answers from Channa, the crown prince grows sober in his heart. Even a charioteer understands the impermanence of this world, it is indeed like a thunder bolt bursting before him. He is as if awakened with fear and trembling at this revelation to him!
The crown prince moans and sighs. He contemplates in his heart: "This illness of aging is capable of corrupting this body of ours. The strength in the body of all the living beings are no more than a flash of dream. All things in this world are ever changing, including me. Seeing such result of the illness of aging, how can I not mourn and fear?"
After a long sigh, the crown prince orders Channa:
"Channa! Let's turn around and go back to the capital. Now I think about the approaching of the illness of aging, how can I have the leisure to go around the garden for the momentary pleasure?" Now the crown prince is deeply aware of life's loneliness, emptiness, and sorrow, after seeing the impression of the old age. Even though living in the palace, he is as if entered into a tomb. He feels no happiness, no joy. His heart can't seem to settle down. The grand palace is to him like a prison. He is grieved in heart feeling trapped inside.
The reason for the princes rash return into the palace is unknown to anybody else, other than his charioteer Channa.
Seeing his beloved son wallowed in sadness all day long everyday, the king is concerned. He therefore advises the prince for another sightseeing trip. He orders even more chariots and horses and servants. Indeed, the streets have to be wiped even cleaner and road needs to be prepared evenly.
Not too long after the crown prince gets out of the city, he sees a sick man on the side dying. He lies there with a huge belly sticking out. He struggles in his breathing. His hands and feet are like dry wood with tears flowing out of his eyes. He moans continuously. The crown prince feels compassionate. He asks Channa how this man becomes like this? Channa thinks for a moment. He will not dare to lie so he replies:
"My prince! This is a sick man. If each part of body body is out of synch, then he will experience this kind of pain in sickness."
The crown prince is deeply touched. He wondered: "Is he the only sick, or is it inevitable for anyone of us?"
"My Prince! In this world, everyone with a body will get sick." Channa answers upon hearing the inquiry of the crown prince.
Now the prince is truly in fear and trembling. He feels like a small boat carried in the beakers and waves. With an uneasy feeling, he moans:
"Ah! Life is indeed bitter! How can you go through life in peace and safety? Ah! The entire living beings are ensnared in ignorance and lust. No one seems to know that illness can fall any moment. And we are aging every day. Instead, everyone engages in pursuit of the pleasures of the five senses."
After riding a circle outside the city, the crown prince orders Channa to go back to the capital. Every time he thinks about the pain and sorrow in sickness, he feels the pain as if bound up by someone and flogged arbitrarily.
Seeing his son returning so quickly, the king repeatedly questions those with him. Channa replies truthfully of the encounters with the old man and the sick man along the way. The king is shocked. He severely rebukes the guards, and increases the entertainment in the prince's palaces, exhausting every pleasure of this world to the extreme, in hope that the crown prince can rid of deep sorrow in his heart. But none of that seems to work.
Therefore, the king takes a trip out himself. He goes out the city and chooses a flourishing garden. He inspects the repairs of the road and the cleanliness of the streets. He gathers even more good looking maidservants and smart servants of ruse. Then he urges the crown prince for yet another excursion.
Seeing his father painstakingly making this arrangements, the prince does not want to violate his kindness of heart. So he goes out for the excursion. Before they even arrive the garden the king selected, they run into four people carrying a coffin. On top of the coffin is a covering. All who follow the coffin appear extremely sorrowful. Their hairs are untidy. Some are even wailing. The crown prince shakes his head and sighed, knowing someone has died. Channa reports:
"My prince! Inside the coffin is a dead man!"
"Why do man have to die?" The crown prince laments.
Channa seems moved by death as well. So he explains attentively:
"Death means the body parts are broken. All the senses and feelings have departed. The soul leaves the body. The flesh and the muscles all dry up. The body can no longer bend or flex as when it is alive. It becomes like a stick of dry wood. No one can take place of anybody else in death, not families and relatives, nor friends. Even the most passionate spouse will have to leave the dead body in the wilderness alone and depart from its presence. My prince! As time passes after burial, the dead body will become corrupt as well!"
Knowing the sorrow in death, the crown prince wails and says to Channa:
"Channa! Death is the conclusion of every life. Whenever and wherever there is life, there is also death in the end. No one can escape that, man, woman, old, or young.
The crown prince has already experienced the misery of aging and illness. He has been overtaken by their horror. Now seeing the reality of death, he prostrates in the wagon and moans: "Ah! The world has indeed been mistaken! Death is near us. How then can we live in such indulgence! Humans are not like grasses and trees, and definitely not dust and rocks. How come no one considers the uncertainty of this world, instead they engage in the games satisfying the flesh and lust, all day and everyday? When I think about the inevitability of death, how then can I watch life sneaking away from me?"
The crown prince orders the charioteer to return to the city right away. But Channa receives order from the king not to return early. So he hesitates in fear not wanting to turn around. The horses runs very fast. Soon the crown prince's wagon arrives the park.
Upon entering the park, the prince notices the pure water and the flourishing trees, and all kinds of birds flying in the sky singing. It is indeed serene and beautiful like the paradise up above.
Chapter XI The Greatest Temptation
When Prince Siddhartha enters the park, he is greeted by many maidservants from the palace, chosen by his father the king. They do everything in flattery and ingratiation to the prince in hope for his favor.
The king has send a trusted officer Udayin to instigate these women:
"The beautiful and elegant maidens! You are exceptional in both of your beauty and your artistic talents in the kingdom. You are flawless in every way. Even the gods will be captivated by you and leave their wives to marry you. No one can resist your attraction regardless what kind of supernatural beings they are. Now, what is the most precious thing in this life? It is your beauty which will arouse feelings and happiness in other people's hearts. My maidens! I tell you now, that the heart of our crown prince is indeed pure and serene right now. It is as hard as the diamond, not to be moved by the temptations of beauties.
Nevertheless, with the charm in your bodies and the your faces as beautiful as the flowers, you must move his heart and obtain his favor. With the gazes from your bright eyes adorned under your eyebrows like a new moon, you will conquer his heart. In the past there was a beauty. She successfully seduced a fairy with the beauty of her face and the sweetness of her words. This fairy became ensnared in his lust so much so he thinks it the most delightful thing in the world when she put her feet on his head. There was another Fairy who became head over heel simply because of a smile from a pretty woman. He lost everything he accumulated from many years of ascetic practice.
There are even other examples. A fairy became ensnared in the bottomless desire for love. Another accumulated merit of ten thousand years. For the sake of one woman in heaven, he completely lost all his determination and resolution in one day. My maidens! The power in women indeed exceeds the determination for ascetic life. Your beauty surpasses the maidens in heaven. With such advantages, for sure you will attract the prince's heart which is dedicated out of this world. Even if you cannot move his heart, you will have to at least try to please him, so that he will not despise the life in the palace and cut off the lineage of the throne!
Hearing this speech, the maid servants are all eager to give it a try. They all contemplate in their hearts about how to obtain favor before the crown prince.
Full of delight and self confidence, the maid servants all rushed towards the crown prince at his appearance, as if the bees lingering around the flowers of aroma. They each put on their best charm, with singing, dancing or smiling towards him. They surround the crown prince and try everything they can to arouse the desires of his flesh. Their behaviors are as if there is no such words as shame in the vocabulary.
Nevertheless, try as they may, the crown prince is not the least moved. His heart is firm. There is not the least distraction or impurity in his heart and his mind. Even though surrounded by this group of noisy women, he is as if relaxing in the realm of stillness and quietness. Just like the Heavenly Emperor, though surrounded by the clouds of beautiful angelical beings all day long, he is not the least moved by the greed and lust for the beauties surrounding them.
The crown prince walks into the park with this maidens following him, continuing their various tactics of temptations. Some hold his hands. Others wash his feet. Some anoint him with scented perfume and others decorate his head with meticulously prepared wreath. Some speak softly to him, others lie down on his legs. These maidens did every shameful way there is in order to break the defense in the prince's heart.
Nevertheless, the hear of the crown prince is as if a pure and clean white water lily. It is surrounded and even grows in the sludge, but it cannot tarnish its beauty and nobility of heart.
Though surrounded by these women, the crown prince is as if never hear their words and see their gestures. His heart is fully occupied but something else. Facing these flirtatious women, he feels no delight nor sorrow. They are as if non-existing before him.
After a while, he finally turns his attention to what is going on before him. In his heart are arouse the feelings disgust and compassion. He speaks as if to himself:
"Ah! Now I know how strong are women's love for the desires of the flesh. They never thought about the fragile and volatile is their youth. In no time it will fade away and they will have to face death. They only know the temporary pleasures of the flesh. They are indeed seared in their hearts by the ignorance. They ought to be conscientious about the sorrow in death which is like a sharp sword on their neck. It is only appropriate if they seek after the ways to free themselves. Why is that the humans all seem to be sleeping? Seeing the life and death, sickness and senescence all around them, why do they not seem to know all these will happen to themselves? It is as if two trees with green branches and leaves are standing in the wilderness. One has been cut down, but the other knows no fear. Ah! How pitiful are the mankind!
"When I think further, there are multitudes of people in the world. Many of them have to engage in hard labor and live in the misery both physically and spiritually. In addition to that, they are under the oppression politically and in religion. Ah! Their lives are indeed full of misery. How can I not try to find a way to save them? How can I still live in leisure to enjoy all these fake, temporary, vulgar and selfish pleasures of the flesh?"
Though standing afar, Udayin hears the crown prince continuously sighing. Remembering the order given to him by the king, he goes to the prince and speak reverently:
"My prince! I received an order from the king to be a close companion and good friend for your. Now please allow me to speak a few words to you as a friend. My prince! To be a friend one must fulfill three conditions. 1) One should not do anything harmful to his friend; 2) One should act for the benefit of his friend; 3) One must share with his friend in both joy and sorrow. Regardless what kind of hardships they go through, this one remains faithful. My prince! Since I am your good friend, for sure I will fulfill my commitment to you. Now I have so much to say to your highness. Please be patient and hear my honest plead.
"My prince! The most important thing in one's youth is to have the love of the opposite sex. It is a shame if a man does not understand the affections of women. My prince! No pleasure in this world surpasses the love of a woman. Now, even though it is against your heart to delight yourself in women, but for the sake of your status, the honor of your nobility you should go with the flow and do what is expected of you as a high and noble prince. They will for sure increase your pleasure. The fundamental of life is in do what is convenient and drift with the flow of the society. For one to renounce such pleasure, is as if a tree is full of blooms but does not yield any fruits. What then is the meaning and pleasure in life?
"My most honorable prince! You are now in your youth, the future king of Kapilvastu. You already possess all virtues for the kingship, therefore, all the good fortune and blessings gather around you. There are many people in the world who try everything in vain to obtain favor and honor of a woman, why do you remove yourself from them? My prince! Nothing can make one happier and more reveling than the pleasure in love. Even the angels I heaven are working to obtain such retribution in blessings. Look, my prince! Even the Heavenly emperor has affairs with the ladies around him. The reason Asita commits himself in ascetic practice is to obtain love of a heavenly being. But he did not get what he wanted. Besides, all these other fairies accumulated much merit for themselves from long time ascetic practice, but they still give up their lives for the love of women.
(Comment: This morning I had a dream. I was in wilderness on a rocky mountain. I remember hiking and the surface of the mountain were mostly rocks. There were others with me. My aunt asked me to do something. I told her no. Another woman was calling me trying to tell me if I go up higher than she will show more spectacular places. But I hesitated going answering her. In my heart it was a dangerous place. We need to finish up what we were doing there and quickly get out. But she kept calling. I still ignored her. I went out somewhere. When I cam back to the team, we pretty much ran out of time. But as I came back, I saw her walking away with another person. She was determined to do what she wanted to do, even though in my heart, we already ran out of time.
Now many women appeared in my dreams. I don't know most of them. I hesitate hearing them. Their image are no different than mine, just plain ordinary. But this lady is truly extraordinary. She is stronger than all of us. And she is shiny. There is light in her and about her. I thought, what did I do? Why did I not answering her call to go up? Where is she going? Who is she?
If I have to guess, she is related to Buddha. Is she the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin? Or is she even Wu Zetian? She is a Buddha incarnation. Regardless what, it is a good thing that she has come out to a mission. I am sure she will bring nothing but blessings to a lost and miserable mankind, if only we can believe.
Now Jesus said if we believe, we can be saved. This has been twisted by many shallow and lazy Christians to mean that if we believe he is the son of God, then we will be saved. Was it his brother James who rebuked such: Even demons believe. And they tremble, too!
To me, to believe in Buddha means to put his teachings in practice. I am sure Jesus meant the same.)
It is indeed hard for men to gain the love of women. It requires accumulation of many merits from the previous life. Men in this world compete in their pursuit for women. Now why do you want to deny yourself of such pleasure? This is for no reason. My prince! I hope you will not lose such treasures in this world!"
What Udayin says indeed makes human sense. Therefore, after hearing his speech, the crown prince tells him in solemnity and kindness:
"Udayin! Thank you! I understand in your honest you said that you are my good friend. Nevertheless, after much meditation, I have come to my own conclusions. So, pay attention to what I am telling you now.
"You said that the greatest pleasure in this world for men is passion and love. But, Ydayin! do you understand this is indeed the reason of my sorrow for mankind in its impermanence? Do you know that I cannot rest because the suffering mankind does not know the release from their misery? I do not deny the pleasure of women, but I will only delight in its pleasure instead of renounce it if in the midst of such pleasure there were no miseries of senescence, illness, and death.
"If those palatial maidens adorned in their sumptuous garments and perfume, if they will never fade away, then love for them is explainable in human sense though not without fault. However, moment by moment, they are only walking towards senescence and death!
In reality, mankind should fear and despise themselves if they are mindful of their own state of senescence, illness and death. How much more so for other people before their very eyes? How can you lust for such a body like this? If on contrary, if one is oblivious of the horror of death, instead he indulges himself in the pleasures of his senses in pursuit of lust, is there any difference between such an ignorant one and a shameless beast? Udayin! The fallen angels you just listed did not know the abomination and danger in the desires of the flesh. Therefore they are consumed by such torrent. They are indeed destroyed by the lusts of the flesh, which is the root of corruption!
For example, if the strong men and women in their youth only live in the realm of the desires of their flesh and give no thought of their body fading away to death, they man consider themselves conquerors. But Udayin! such conquerors are still in the snares of senescence, sickness, death and impermanence!
If I do receive the pleasures of the flesh from these women because of convenience, this to me will be called obsession as I will go against my own heart. I would have done myself injustice in falsehood and deceit. For sure I am not willing to do that! If one is overly passionate about anything in this world, one becomes obsessed to it. When one become obsessed to something, this one can never get satisfied in this matter regardless how much he already has. Now you want me to receive the pleasures which I do not love out of convenience, is this not a great hypocricy? How can you tell me to renounce my own heart to engage in the passion of the flesh, and still say this is the fundamental way of the world? I indeed cannot understand this kind of reasoning!
"This world is a great ocean of misery which gathers all of the pain and sorrow of mankind. If one desires me to fall into it, then this is not an advice from a good friend. Ah, Udayin! The horrors of life, senescence, sickness and death is indeed hideous and frightful. You see, all things are ever changing and impermanent around us. Day in and day out we are all walking towards the grave. How then do we still have the desires to pursue temporary happiness in love?
Udayin! This is the great mystery I want to resolve. My heart is in fear and trembling every moment. I lose sleep at night when I think about the corruption of my body in the near future. How can I close my eyes and sear my conscience to indulge in the ocean of misery in the desires of the flesh? Udayin! The fire of impermanence is burning towards our bodies. This is an undeniable truth. I order not to feel sorrow in my heart before such fake passion and love, I will have to become a man of wood and stone!"
With such persuasion from the crown prince, Udayin lowers his head in shame of his own casual behaviors.
The dusk approaches after tis long conversation between the crown prince and Udayin. The Sun slowly descends in the west beyond the mountain. The birds are looking for their nests. The palatial maidens have exhausted themselves to please the crown prince but in vain. They depart from his presence in shame with their instruments.
The park is now quiet. The crown prince is surrounded by the serene trees, the grasses and the flowers, the mountains afar and the water in the pond. He walked around the park for a little bit before he sits down under a tree, meditating on the matters of the universe and human life. Then he returns to the palace in the capital.
Udayin truthfully reports the happenings to the king, who becomes distressed and sad, knowing that the crown prince is determined not to be tarnished by the desires of the flesh. His is as if pierced by a sharp knife into his heart. He calls for an instant meeting with his court, to discuss how to change the crown prince's heart?
The court speaks with one voice:
"There is no better way to change his heart, other than trying to increase the pleasure of his senses!"
(If every mother in the catholic church sacrifices their children as May claims she did, then what is to become of the church? What is to become of the world? Is this why family bond in the church is not particularly strong, or at least no better than the world? Is this heaven's call for every mother to sacrifice their sons and daughters? If not, then why is mary a good example of a mother? She is indeed to be cast aside as a mother figure, let along to be exemplified and followed after.)
Chapter XII The Crown Prince Renounces the World
From then on, the king adds a whole lot more treasures and beautiful maidens in the prince's palace. I his heart, he hopes to use such entertainment day and night to distract the prince's heart. Nevertheless, the crown prince is the least interested. Instead, day and night he worries about mankind's misery in life and death, in sickness and senescence! He is like an lion shot by a sharp sword. He strives in the wilderness of the high mountains and dense forests.
In addition to the temptations of worldly treasures and the maidens, the king selects many young, good looking and sharp men of noble birth. They surround the crown prince day and night. They all behave in proper etiquette. The king exhausts his heart and mind and in every way he can think of to show the crown prince the solemnity as a king. Nevertheless, all these superficial gestures and deliberations are simply vain glory, meaningless to him.
On day, the crown prince requests of his father that he wants an excursion with his young companions to the park outside the city. The king never denies his request as long at it will give him pleasure. When the crown prince is in the park, he only spends time by himself, meditating under a tree. He tells the young companions to play themselves, but not to interfere him.
The prince quietly sits under his tree. The principium of life and death, rise and fall, and ever turning of the impermanence undulate in his heart like the waves and beakers of the ocean. He thinks to himself: "The world is indeed full of misery. The life of man is limited in time, but for some reason most people do not seem to understand such impermanency. They strive all day long with their lives in order to make a living. This is the greatest misery of all. They are frightful of other people's senescence, sickness and death, yet they never seem to relate such to themselves. They seem to have no sense that one day the same will also happen to themselves. They have no fear of their own impermanence of life. Ah! This is indeed the greatest trouble! I cannot be like just any human being in this world. I will have to vanquish the deceit in the human strength and youth and overcome the horror of senescence, sickness and death. I cannot let the mankind in this world be ensnared in this misery forever. Now I urgently need the understanding and wisdom of freedom from these miseries."
As the crown prince is meditating, a monk walks towards him. The prince rises quickly to his feet, and asks respectfully:
"Please! Who are you? Why do you dress differently than others?"
"Ah! Is this what you want to know? Let me tell you. I am a monk free of the chain from the family. I despise the sorrows in old age, in sickness, and in death which no one can avoid. No one can escape the ever changing impermanency. In order to obtain the way of freedom and relieve, I renounce the world to become a monk. I have neither sorrow, nor happiness. I only hope for a state of no life nor death, and a realm of peace, harmony and equality of all!
"I have no lust for fortune nor beauty. I spend my time in the quietness of the mountains and forests, and cut off myself from the strife and anxiety of fame and wealth. I have no concept of 'me', and 'mine'. I do not have to make choices between what is clean and filthy, and will have not need to distinguish what is good or ugly. I beg food in the towns and villages to nourish this body of the flesh, which is all vanity.
"Seeing other people in trials and tribulations, I try to help them without hope for rewards, or thoughts of accumulation of merits. I only feel that the misery of all living beings should be carried on my shoulders. If not me, who will try to free all living beings lost in the ocean of life and death?"
The crown prince is exceeding delighted after hearing this. He says to the monk:
"I have the same kind of mind like yours, far from all desires of the flesh. I want to pursue the realm and freedom. In the meantime, I have the desire and the capability to free the entire living beings. The only thing is I still do not have the understanding. It is fortunate that I meet you today. I am as if seeing a bright light in the darkness of the world!"
After the crown prince finishes his speaking, he turns back to the monk, but he has vanished from the sight, no where to be found!
The crown prince knows this is from the Buddha's to enlighten him. Therefore, he makes up his mind right there and then to renounce the world. He puts on shelve all his feelings of love, passion, mercy and grace, and returns with his young companions to the palace, in silence.
After the prince returns to the palace, he first greets his father. Then he explains to his father about the horrors in life and death. He pleads his father to allow him leave for a monastic life. Gathering all his strength, the crown prince says to his father:
"My father the king! In this world where is happiness of union, there is also the sadness of separation. This is regardless of male or female, noble or lowly. Therefore, I want to leave the palace for a monastic lifestyle, in pursuit of true freedom and release. I plead for the permission for my father the king, full of kindness and love!"
This is as if a thunder breaks out before the king. He finally hears what he has always feared for. In trembling he steps forward and caresses his son's hands. With tears streaming down in his face, he says:
"Siddhartha! Please hear the plead of your father and stop such thinking. You should not think like this in anyway! You are still young in age. Your thoughts will change in time, and it is easy for young people to make mistakes! The world is not as horrific as you think, neither is life as despicable as you feel. If you want to pursue a monastic lifestyle, you will not attain the ultimate realm of heart's desire.
"Those who pursue truth and light all enjoy living in the quietness of the forests in the wilderness. But their hearts are not necessarily in stillness. Siddhartha! If you want to live a monastic lifestyle, please wait till you are at least of my age. Or else, you will never attain your desires and you will even regret.
"You, Siddhartha, now will rule this nation, and govern the national affairs in my place. Let me go first to live a monastic lifestyle. You should never do so. It is very unreasonable for you to abandon your father and forget your responsibility as the heir of the kingdom. Get rid of this thought right away. Follow the rules of this world. Inherit the throne. Wait for tens of years after you have reigned over this nation, then you would have fulfilled your commitment to this nation. Then you can leave the palace."
After hearing his father's speech, the crown prince replies reverently:
"My father the king! It is not that I never considered what you have just said. If my father the king can satisfy four wishes in my heart, then I can consider not to leave. Here are the four wishes: 1) No fading away in age; 2) No pain in sickness; 3) No horror of death; 4) All things will not wear and tear!"
The king shakes his head:
"Siddhartha! You should never say that. No one can promise these four wishes. If others know these four wishes of yours, they will laugh at your lack of wisdom. Now, stop this heart of monastic life. I want you to inherit my throne soon!"
In heaviness and politeness the crown prince replies:
"If no one can promise these four wishes, pleas let my father the king permit me to leave, and let me go and find the way to fulfill these four wishes!"
"At this very moment, I am as if living in a house burning in fire. I have to leave this house and find a place of peace and security. In union there is dispersion; in gathering there is departure. This is common sense. all people in the world will die regardless how they live, wither in justifiable ways or unjustifiable ways. Death, is indeed inevitable for mankind. Why then can we not look for relief and release in the a reasonable lifestyle?"
The king already knows that the crown prince is not to change his heart. He still exhaust every way in order to keep him in the world. He knows that it is useless to talk to him any more. He can only add still more beautiful maidens in his palace with delightful music to distract the prince and arouse his desires of the flesh. In addition, he orders people to guard the prince's palace day and night, in order to prevent him from leaving the palace. All the officers of the kingdom also visit the crown prince often, and advise him to obey the command of his father the king and prepare for the ceremony to resume the throne.
The crown prince separates a room for himself in order to stay in quietness. He seldom visits princess Yaśodharā and Rahula, his son. Because of the beloved new born son, Princess Yaśodharā focuses all her time in the companion and enjoyment of Rahula, thinking her husband is busy in the affairs of the kingdom, having no spare time to spend in her palace.
Whenever the crown prince comes before his father, he always sees hi, frowning and his face full of sorrow and sadness. This increases the distress of the crown prince, as if he is locked up in the birdcage of the palace!
The maidens in the palaces takes an order from the king. They surround the crown prince every moment, with their every smile, every frown trying to ingratiate the prince and attract him to themselves. They on alert like the deer in the depth of the late autumn, tentatively watching every single move of the huntsman.
Whereas, the crown prince has no interest in capturing these deer full of unrequited love. He cannot care less about them. All day long they wear splendid attires and are full of inspiration in their mission. Even in the depth of the night, they do not stop playing delightful music. Although the music is reveling, but the heart of the crown prince is far, far away, emptied without any desires for such.
After a playing for a long time, the maidens become very tired. One night they all fall asleep after all day's hard work. In their sleep, their faces are smeared by the uneven powder they have applied. Their bodies are in different shape and form, quite ludicrous. Some lie on their backs, others crawl around. Their musical instruments are scattered around. The beautiful decorations fall from their garments like chains. Their garments wrap around their bodies like ropes ensnaring them. Some sleep with their strings like executed prisoners. Others lean unto the wall like the hanging bows. Some prostrate on the table as if killed by hanging. Some have saliva from their mouths, others are snoring. Some close their eyes and open their mouths. Others are grinding their teeth. There is indeed nothing elegant about such a scene!
The crown prince has been sleeping in bed. Suddenly the troubling music and singing stops in his hearing. The gentle light of the moon shed into the window. The crown prince can no longer sleep. So he rises with his garment on. He looks at a disheveled Yaśodharā lying in bed, embracing Rahula and leaves without waking them. When he passes where the maidens have been dancing and singing, he is shocked to see them in such ludicrous state. These maidens are all of pretty faces and statues. Now the scene is indeed unsightly. The prince cannot stop sighing. He watches them for a little while, then a thought rises in his heart:
"Everything in this world is so phony, that I should not hesitate for a single moment any longer. I have to hurry to leave this place to seek relieve!"
The crown prince is now more determined than ever. He looks at Yaśodharā and Rahula one last time, both sound asleep, then he walks to where Channa lives.
"Channa! Bring me my white horse!"
"It is deep at night. Where do you want to go?" Channa whispers.
"I want to go out of the city to drink the honey dew in the spring water. Hurry up and bring the white horse over. Where the spring is there is the country of no death!"
Channa already knows what the crown prince wants. He says hesitantly: My prince! It is deep into the night. It is harmful to your health to go out at this hour. Please go in the morning!"
"Channa! have you heard me? Bring my white horse over!"
Channa is fearful hearing the command in such deep and authoritative voice. For Channa, he thinks that for the crown prince to go out of the city in the dark night, if is appropriate to report the king first and obtain his permission. Nevertheless, under the solemn gaze of the crown prince, Channa has to go and bring the white horse over.
The crown prince caresses the horse's head, and talks to him as if to a human being:
"Kataka! In the past my father the king obtains victory riding on you in the battles of tens of thousands of soldiers. Now I have to rely on your bravery to take me to the water of honeydews, where there is no death. There are many soldiers in a battle. There are many companions in entertainment. When a merchant takes off to seek treasure, many will be glad to accompany him. nevertheless, rare are the friends who share your happiness and sorrow, or who will also pursue truth and enlightenment. It is indeed fortunate in life to be able to have both. Kataka! Now I am going out of the city, in order to attain the wisdom and understanding to relieve mankind from life and death, to proclaim the truth of salvation, and to save the multitudes fallen in the ocean of the misery. You, Katak! If you want to save your own future, then you will first have to share some of that happiness with the others. You have to do your best to walk in the long journey of life, never to be tired!"
After this, the crown prince gets on the horse. He raises his horsewhip, and runs out of the city with Channa.
The crown prince is like the full moon in the serene sky. The horse is like the white clouds floating in the sky. There is no gasping, no respite. All creation are sleeping in silence, except the crown prince and the horse. With their acute hearts, the crown prince and the horse rides off like a shooting star. They are tens of miles away before the Sunrise.
(Comments: This morning I woke up from a horrible dream. In the dream I saw two women. One was on my far right, dancing under Heaven. On my left was a tall mountain, which I could not see its peak. Soon a man came down from the mountain. He went to the woman and lied down on a comfortable couch. The woman went by his side.
Then there came down another woman. She is much stronger in statue, like the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin whom I saw in another dream. She came before me and got down on her knees. Before her was a river. She dipped her hand into the river. I tried to pull her out of it telling her not to do it. She resisted me, saying, my finger is already ruined. I got all my strength and finally pulled her away. I saw indeed a chunk of the flesh on a finger was almost bitten off. She was bleeding. I said, that is ok. It will heal. But the pull had both of us fallen on the ground. Then I saw her face. She looks beautiful with a bright smile.
With the pull came up a few nasty looking fish, like catfish with their big mouths wide open. They eat flesh and drink blood. Obviously they did not want to let go of this lady whose flesh and blood they had been consuming. Now since she was on the other side of me, they came straight towards me. I wanted to wave my arms to push them back into the water, but I was scared that they might take my arm for dinner. So I cursed: You shameless wretches! You deserve death!
So this is the mixture of the Catholic Church. The woman dancing in the limelight is obviously a harlot. But there are images of Mary that have been neglected by the Church. I have read a few records of encounters with her when she came down in humility to serve and nourish. Such maybe a truth image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is tender, loving. In Her is the image and likeness of God. There is nothing flashy about her, just like her Son. But men in their foolishness and stupidity only see the spectacular. Jesus refused to jump off a cliff, but we fell head over toe under a woman's lowly tricks.
Catholic Church is indeed divided as well. There are many devout to serve the Lord with all they have. They offered great sacrifices living their lives shining the light. There are also many immaculate in their hearts dancing with the harlot. Many of them are not necessarily evil, but they are ignorant.
God forgive me if I am judgmental. For what I am saying I will one day stand before the Throne of God and give an account. Therefore, I fear and tremble. May the God of mercy and wisdom give me understanding, and open my otherwise blind eyes so I can see.)
Chapter XIII Channa and Kataka
The dark night is finally over. The world is once again covered by the bright light.
The crown prince reaches at the foot of a large mountain. He hears that in the forest by its side, there is a hermit living in ascetic.
On this great mountains, are many joyful birds chirping and singing; The streams between the mounts flows happily all day long. Entering into this mountain, one's otherwise upsetting hearts are calmed down, and the exhausted bodies quickly recover in relaxation. The crown prince is greatly delighted by this serenity. He thinks to himself: "This is indeed an auspicious scene! Right here I will find what I seek with my heart.
Deeply touched by this great mountain and the dense forest like paradise, the crown prince sees the hermit with an extraordinary appearance as if out of this world: "This is a man practicing ascetic. Let me go to pay my tribute."
With this thought, the crown prince jumps off his horse:
"Kataka! You have carried me to where I want to be."
After speaking such his white horse, the prince turns around to Channa, and speaks to him in gentleness and kindness:
"Channa! You have fulfilled your duty to me in faithfulness and diligence. I will never forget about you. You have followed me everywhere I have been, without any complaints or weariness. This is because of the honesty in your heart.
"Channa! I can see the virtue in you, both in reverence and honesty in your heart, and diligence in your works. In this world there are those who are honest in their hearts but have no demonstration in their deeds. Others work diligently but they have not the slightest joy and happiness in their hearts. Channa! You have both respect and diligence. You deny all your glory and profit to follow me. I am indeed grateful. Channa! The whole world is pursuing profit. Even the closest relatives and friends will depart without gain. But now you follow me here unconditionally. You are indeed a fine man of rare quality.
"The parents in this world want children to continue their lineage. The people in the kingdom are faithful to the king in order to obtain his favor. Everything is the world is driven by selfish gain. I am touched by you because you can forget all about that and from your heart are flowing out your faithfulness and diligence.
"Now there is no purpose for me to speak such to you. I can simply tell you: Chann! This will be the last time you labor for me. Now take this horse of mine and go back to the capital. I will now leave the dream of the lasting darkness of night and walk towards the light of truth, alone."
By now Channa is sobbing uncontrollably. The crown prince looks at him. Then he takes off his colorful garment and hands them to Channa:
"These are the things I often wear. I give them to you as a memory. May this be a remembrance and will help ease your yearning when you miss me."
The crown prince then removes the crown from his head and the pearls he
"Please take these to my father the king. Tell him what I say to you:
"I come to this forest of ascetic renouncing my personal affections of love and passion, in order that I can find the way to completely relieve the sorrows of this world in life and death, sickness and old age so that I can save the multitudes of the lives fallen in the ocean of this world's misery. It is not that I do not miss the great graces of my father the king, neither do I leave the capital out of hatred. I only want to eliminate the root of the sorrow and sadness for mankind in this world!
"For example, sleeping in the bed of love and passion all night is not going to eliminate the loneliness of separation. Ii want to be released from this. Only when we are relieved from such then we can forever have no separation. I leave the palace for the sake of breaking sorrow, sadness, worry, and pain. Please may my father the king not be grieved for such separation!
"If my father the king says that I do not understand the pleasures in the human senses of the flesh, then tell him it is indeed nothing to be desired. The source of all sorrow and misery are rooted in the desires of the flesh. Our ancestors did everything they can in order to satisfy the their desires of the flesh. But now what have they gained? If I now accept the throne from my father, and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, but eventually, they will still depart from me. Therefore, the pleasures of the flesh will not follow us forever. In this regards, there is no joy in them. This world is full of cyclic contradictions. Some people try so hard in their lives to pursue fortune. As they leave this world, they cannot bring anything with them, but leave all behind for their children. Often the children fall in corruption of the greed and lust for these fortunes.
"I am determined to renounce the despicable lust of the world. I wan the fortune in the everlasting truth, which is incorruptible.
"If he says that one should not leave his family behind in one's youth, then there should not be a specific time to pursue truth. Life and death is uncertain and impermanent. Death follows us the moment we are born to life. Therefore, I want to explore and pursue truth in my temporary physical strength. This is the reason and the right timing for my monastic life."
After the crown prince finishes speaking to Channa, of the words to his father the king, the looks at Channa and commands him emphatically:
"Channa! Please do not forget the words I want to say to my father the king! You tell him that now I have not the least compassion about him. I have forgotten everything about him. Tell him to please forget about me as well!"
Stricken by grievance, Channa almost faints before the crown prince. He kneels before the crown prince. With his hands folded before his heart, he weeps to the prince:
"My prince! Please do not say so! You ought to know that these words will only increase the king's sorrow. For example, how can he not be sad hearing you say that you no long have any affection towards him? Even the gold and gem stones can be crushed, how can your heart be so hardened? Moreover, you grow and live in the palace. Your body is as precious as a branch of gold and a leave of gem. Now you want to live in among the thorns. How can you stand such crude environment?
"When you first asked me to take the horse, my heart was very unsettled. But for some reason, I felt your solemnity as if there was another power. I dared not to disobey the command of Kapilavastu's crown prince. Now you want to renounce your throne. Please consider the hearts of the people in the entire kingdom. Besides, the king is now in his old age. I cannot bear to think about his compassionate heart towards his beloved son. Surly you cannot become a monk and forget graces of your parents. All these you have said are of evil, and unjust!
"Madame Prajapati Gotami raises you up in the place of the late queen. She is now withered in her body and worried in her heart. How can you deny such great grace of hers? Surly this is not of the Dharma of the holy ones, when you disregard the graces in upbringing, and ignore the expectations of all people, only to deny all of these once you are grown! Moreover, you have a young princess and a little on Rahula. How can you disregard them all! Ah! My prince! You deny your father the king, your entire family and clan, now you want to deny me! My prince! I will never leave you for whatever reasons. I will follow you even to death!
"Now you want me to stay here and go back to the city alone. How can I face the king telling him what you told me? When Madame Prajapati Gotami and the Princess Yasodhara questions me, what am I going to tell them? I am sorry I will be speechless even if I return to the city. Even if I can speak, who under Heaven will believe me? If someone says: the Sun is cold, the moon is hot, will there be anybody in the world who will believe him? What I am saying is that no one will ever believe that a virtuous prince like you will have such unjustifiable behavior!
(Comment: Life is in the blood. Mary indeed not only sacrificed her Son, but also her own blood in order to give those who have fallen her own life. This is not something that can be accomplished by commanding the sun to dance!)
"My prince! Your heart used to be so gentle and full of mercy. You mourn over an old man; You feel so sad seeing a sick man. They arouse your compassion even they are all unrelated to you. How can you now renounce grimly all those who love you deeply? This is such an incredible contradiction! Please go back to the palace with me!"
Even though Channa is only a charioteer, he is indeed good at speech. Nevertheless, the crown prince is all the more determined after hearing his arguments. He speaks to Channa again:
"Channa! You are so full of sorrow today for my sake. Whereas, this is exactly the kind of sorrow I renounce today. No living beings can avoid
the emotional turmoil in union and separation, regardless of their circumstances. This is only common sense. For example, we know to live together happily with those close to us, but who will accompany them when death strikes? My kind mother went through much pain when bearing me in her belly. She departs this world after giving birth to me. How will she ever know that she can never enjoy of her beloved son?
Look at the flock of birds happily chirping in the forest. They gather in the forest at sunset, but when at sunrise, they scatter each going their own way. They gather at night and disperse in the morning. Is there any difference for humans in our separations? Now look again over there the high mountains with white clouds floating on the top. It is as I they are inseparable. Nevertheless, the clouds will eventually float away. The mountains and the clouds meet then they depart. The people gather then they leave. This is the way of this world. Therefore, the sorrow of mankind is rooted in the false security of temporary union. The affection of such temporary gatherings can indeed be very affectionate and lingering, but it is like a dream which will eventually end.
This is only just limited to me and my close ones! For example, in the warm spring air are the sprouts of the young seedlings. They grow and flourish through summer. But at the invasion of the fall, the branches and leaves will fall. When winter strikes, they turn to dry wood. The branches and the leaves on a tree are indeed one body, yet they cannot avoid such gatherings and dispersion, union and separation. How much more is the temporary togetherness of families and relatives? Life is indeed fragile! There is indeed no foundations for such!
"Channa! Grieve no more. Quiet your spirit and go back to the source of life. Listen to me and go back to the city!"
"To those who cares about me in the nation, please tell them:
'For the sake of saving mankind from the ocean of life and death, to release multitudes from their sorrows and pain, I leave the world to pursue ultimate truth and understanding. When I attain my goal, then I will return to the city. If I can never accomplish this, then my body will grow old and end among the mountains and forests.'"
After hearing the speech of such determination, the white horse Kataka lets out a cry. The it kneels down and bows its head in sigh. Tears flow down from its eyes.
"The crown prince cannot help but shed some tears, seeing the grievance of the white horse. But right away, he gently caresses the horse and says:
"Kataka! Please do not grieve. I am grateful to you that till now, you have done all you can in hard labor for me as a fine horse. This service has ended now. Kataka! From now on, you will be void of the misery in the cycles of life and death. Now, you will receive your blessings in the future."
After saying this, the crown prince pulls out the sword on Channa and cut off the hair on his head. He puts on the cassock exchanged with his princely garment on the way. Then he turns around and walks in steady steps with a serene determination towards the cave where the hermit lives.
Watching the back of the crown prince leaving, Channa knows that there is no way to turn him around. He lifts up his head in groaning before he faints on the ground. After he wakes up, the embraces the neck of the white horse. In desperation he moans:
"Ah, my prince! You deny the king and all your family. Now you also deny me!"
Dragging his two heavy legs, Channa returns the city in grievance and sorrow shedding his tears. But he turns often around, watching the forest of ascetic, where the tree branches and leaves whirl in the gentle wind.
Chapter XIV Dissuading the Hermit
After walking for a long distance, the crown prince quickly turns around and sees Channa walking away leading the white horse towards the capital city, weeping. Without any worries now he enters into the forest of ascetic where the hermit lives.
There are many hermits living in the forest of ascetics. When they see the extraordinary appearance and his demeanors, they know he is no ordinary person. One by one they come before him to pay tribute. The crown prince responses with honesty. Then he inquires of an elder among them:
"I come in pursuit of truth light and understanding. Now I have no understanding. Can you please tell me how I can attain the true awakening and ultimate relief?
Among them is an elder of the hermits. He replies in great detail:
"We have never thought about true awakening. We only hope to attain to Heaven. In order to get to Heaven, one must accumulate unimaginable ascetics in this world. Now let me explain to the various types of ascetics:
"Those who practice ascetics will never live in a place where human beings gather. They also keep a diet that is different than ordinary people. In order to sustain life, they only take for food the green moss growing in clear water, or the grass roots, tree barks, flowers or fruits to fill up the stomach. When eat, they sometimes imitate birds using their feet to take the food into their mouths. Or they follow after the way of the snakes. But it is prohibitive for them to use anything processed with wood or ricks. We give away the good food given to us, but only keep a little residue for ourselves. Those of us who commit the life of ascetics sometimes pour cold water on ourselves from head to toe, other times stand all day long carrying the ice. Some sleeps next to the fire so their bodies are heated in red, others spend theirs days swimming in water live fish. We praise the flowing streams and worship the bright Sun and the Moon...... To practice this kind of ascetics, you will soon obtain the result of peace and security."
Hearing these words spoken by the elder, the wise crown prince already know all these various ways of ascetics. After meditating for a while, he says to the hermits before him:
"This is for sure not the true awakening to separate oneself from sorrow and misery and obtain hoy. Even if it is indeed as you said, to practice such ascetics will give you hope to gaining Heaven, it is still a sad thing! Why? Heaven is not beyond the cycles of life and death. For such a small accomplishment you will have to practice this kind of diligent and painful ascetics, it is indeed not worthy to renounce your affections and this world. The happiness can be obtained anywhere even on earth. To ascend to Heaven will only eliminate the misery on earth, but then you are ensnared in the greater pain!
"To suffer with today's body in exchange of the happiness after death, this is indeed increasing the cause of desires of the flesh. It has nothing to do with relieving from the life and death and pain and sorrow. In the end the effect will be even more misery for the sake of misery!
"The people in the world often fear death and hope for life, but eventually no one can avoid death. In the same time, every one despises pain and pray for happiness, but eventually they still fall in the ocean of misery.
Because you despises the desires and happiness in this world, therefore, you apply all kinds of misery in the hope for the desires and happiness in heaven, this is persistent in the sorrow and in happiness. This kind of motivation is indeed petty and lowly in order to seek truth. You persevere in ascetics, but without wisdom, you will not be able to find the way of relief. If you can indeed cast aside the sorrow and happiness, then you will enter into the realm of truth.
"If, however, you believe that suffering is justifiable, but happiness is unjustifiable, then to obtain the results with your practice of ascetics, then you will be practicing with a good cause, but for an unjustifiable effect. Is this a great contradiction?
"All of the movements of the body is directed by the strength from the heart. Without the heart, one is like a dry wood. Therefore, regardless of wisdom or ignorance, one is to satisfy the heart. To practice such ascetics will cause much agony in your heart. To hope for joy, your heart will be partial towards your feelings. Therefore, this is not the way to ultimate wisdom regardless in pain or in happiness.
According to what you have just described about ascetics, if eating the tree leaves, flowers and fruits will be the way to obtain blessings and joy, then the poor people and the beasts often rely on such for food. Will this guarantee their future of first class blessings and joy? Again, if swimming in the water all day is the adequate way of ascetics, then will the fish and insects of water be counted as the first class ascetics?"
The crown prince uses many examples in order to enlighten them and convince them practicing ascetics is not the ultimate way leading to enlightenment. Suddenly he realizes the sun has set. The crown prince sees many hermits serving the fire by going through the burning blaze back and forth. Others kneel before the fire to blow air. Some pour butter over the fire. Others lift their voices in curses and prayers. Seeing all these methods of ascetics, the crown prince knows that other than suffering in their bodies, they will never attain the realm of truth. Therefore, he makes up his mind to bid farewell to this forest of ascetics.
Many of the hermits now come over to urge the crown prince to stay. With all honesty they ask him to live in the forest of ascetics with them:
"It has been a difficult journey for you to travel from an unjustifiable place to this forest of ascetics, where the right way is found. Now you want to leave right away. We do not want you to go back to that unjustifiable world. Please stay in this forest of ascetics, to practice this way of purification with us!"
Many elderly hermits now step forward to plead the crown prince to stay in the forest. They all know he is an extraordinary character, but they do not know that he is the crown prince of Kapilavastu. Every one of them filthy and untidy because of years of ascetic practice. They wear garments made of straw with appearances of exhaustion. They surround the crown prince and plead with him:
"When we first see you coming, we think you increase our joy and hope. But now you have only stayed one day before you are leaving again. If you leave us now, this forest will become once again a lonely world. In this forest of ascetics is every great hermit. The Snow mountain is nearby. There is no better place to practice ascetics than this forest. Because this is a beautiful and auspicious place, there has to be an extraordinary man like yourself. If you will not leave this forest and are willing to practice ascetics with us, we would like to honor you as our highest elder, or we will honor you as if you were our heavenly emperor."
The most earnest persuasion from this group of hermits is not sufficient to stop the crown prince from his pursuit for ultimate truth. He speaks to them:
I will never forget your honest heart for your hospitality towards a visitor. Your polite words are indeed delightful. I really appreciate your kindness and friendliness. But, I still have to depart from here in order to seek the ultimate truth of awakening which will utterly eliminate the root of all sorrow. It is indeed joyful in gathering, and sad in separation. We share such affections, because in the joy of gathering is the sadness of separation. This is not of anybody's sin, but the reality and truth of this world.
For me to leave you, it is not that I do not understand your warm regards, but that all you pursue with your practice of ascetics is only to obtain the joy in heaven. In my opinion, the joy of Heaven is not the ultimate relief, because it is not everlasting. Pretty soon, you will fall back in this world. My hope and what I pursue, is a way to elevate mankind from all desires of the flesh, and the vanity of the life in the cycles of realm of color or no color. Therefore, it is in two worlds which we pursue. And we will apply different ways. In honesty, all you practice are only decays tried by generations before us. I will have to seek the true enlightenment. So I will have to bid farewell to you and your forest of ascetics!"
Surrounding the crown prince, the hermits are overjoyed after hearing the prince's ideal of wisdom deep and wide. Their respect towards the crown prince has even increased more.
At this time, a hermit lying on the ground wearing twining hair and covered in tree barks says to the crown prince:
My wise and determined monk! Surly you will relieve the mankind from the pain in life and death, in aging and sickness. For sure you will be elevated above and beyond the three relams and become a truly great teacher.
You are right in that to worship the god above and accumulate many years practice of ascetics only for the joy in heaven, this is still greed, not a true relief. Therefore, whoever takes on a challenge against greed, whoever can attain the true relief, he will be the great man attaining ultimate wisdom!
"This forest of ascetics is not the place for you. Go to another mountain where a great sage Alara is living. If you go thee, for sure you will hear the great way which will lead you to truth. But from what I can see, even he cannot satisfy you. Afterwards, you can leave him to pursue the ultimate awakening!"
Hearing this hermit's advice, the crown prince is delighted and grateful the same time. He stays in the forest of ascetics for the night and bid farewell to the group of hermits. He leaves the hermits in their sighs and moaning, to a new journey.
Chapter XV The Grievance in the Capital
Now back to Channa. Since he leaves the crown prince, he has not stopped shedding tears. He mourned in desperation and sorrow in his heart:
"I came out last night with the crown prince. Who would know I am now returning all by myself."
Dragging his heavy legs and leading the tired white horse, he walks several days before he finally arrives the capital of Kapilavastu.
The white horse Kataka is the most famous steed in the whole kingdom. But now he stumbles along without his master, looking very tired and sallow. He refuses to drink when thirsty, and takes no grass when hungry. Following after Channa, the stallion does not stop lamenting with tears.
In the nation of Kapilavastu, everything seems to have come to a stop. The pure spring water seems dried up. The blooming flowers are as if withered. Men and women are still running all over the streets, only without their smiles. The entire kingdom of Kapilavastu is covered in the air of sadness and lonliness.
When the people of the kingdom see Channa entering the city by himself like a walking zombie, leading the white horse, a large crowd quickly surrounds him, inquiring the whereabouts of the crown prince. Is he well?
"The crown prince is a treasure of this kingdom, our security of life. Now you steal the national treasure and breach the security of our lives. Where have you hidden him?"
The crowds talk over each other asking Channa where the crown prince is. Controlling his own grievance, Channa tells them:
"I have always followed after the crown prince. I did not abandon him, but he abandoned me. Not only he abandons me, he also renounces this whole world.
"Everyone! The crown prince has taken down his crown of jewels, taken off his luxuriant garments, cut off his hairs and put on a cassock. He has now made himself a monk. Without turning his head around, he has entered into the forest of Ascetics."
The crowds gets panic. They start crying asking each other:
"What are we going to do?"
The crown prince falls away the kingdom of Kapilavastu. Now the nation loses its majesty and glory. It is now gloomy like a graveyard!
Just as the people are grieving, someone gives a false report to the capital, saying the crown prince has returned. Many officers rush outside the city, but all they see are Channa and the white horse Kataka. Where is the crown prince? They fall panic as well. Everyone scorns Channa for leaving the crown prince behind. They take him into the palace before the king.
Entering the palace, Channa sees everything familiar, except the crown prince. He will never come back again. Overcome by grievance, Channa lifts his voice and starts lamenting!
The white horse Kataka also responds with its own cry. All the birds and the beasts raised in the palace lift their voices, as if saying: "Crown prince! Please come back!"
All the maidens in the palace, hearing the laments of the horse and the birds, and the news that the crown prince did not come back, all prostrate on the ground weeping and crying, as if they lost their most loving mother!
Ever since the crown prince's departure, they have been extending their necks and great earnest, waiting for his return. They have no desire to wash themselves even with dirt on their bodies. They lose interest even in washing their dirty clothes or comb their scattered hair. For many days they have not used makeups on their faces. For the crown prince, they forget their youthful beauty and their dignity. Many are almost grieved to death now that they know he has not returned.
The queen Maha Pajapati brought up the crown prince in place of her sister. Now she hears that he has renounced the world for an ascetic lifestyle in the forest, and that he will never return home, she falls on the ground and scratch her hands and feet. With tears and blood all over her face, she cries to herself:
"My prince truly exceptional in this world! Why do you go to the forest to practice ascetic? This world is indeed too cruel. Why do you take my child away from me? How can he walk among the thorns with his gentle and soft feet? How can he bear to sleep on the hard rocks with his delicate body? He is like a branch of gold and jade of precious gem. He is accustomed to wearing warm clothes and bathing in scented water. Now he eats with wind and sleeps under the dew, suffering heat and cold. How can he stand all these? In the past he ate only delicacies, slept in the comfort of a large bed. He hears, and heard only the delightful music. Many maidens surround him in service. Now he denies all these. How is he going to live in the forest of the ascetics?"
The lady is earnest in heart for the love of her son. She almost faints out of grievance.
Another one sad is the Princess Yaśodharā. When she sees Channa, she cannot hold back but scorns him:
"Channa! How can you do such evil? Do not lie to me, where did you send him to? You went out with your master. Now you leave him behind and come back by yourself. You are indeed unfaithful and unrighteous. You
allured him away. Now he will never come back so that you will no longer labor for him. Is that not so? Now you should be happy. Why then do you pretend to mourn? You robbed the joy of this kingdom, now it is full of sorrow and anxiety. You must bring my husband back. Otherwise, I will no longer live either! Do you hear all these voices of lamentation? You abandoned the crown prince. How wicked is your heart!"
Princes Yosadhara cries and rebukes. Then she sees the white horse Kataka behind Channa:
"O Horse! Where is your heart of faithfulness? You carry my husband to a remote place far, far away. You are like a robber, you took away the precious from others. Before when you went out with your master into the battlefield, you had no fear among the swords, knives, bows and arrows. Your faithfulness is known to everyone. Why have you become so unrighteous, that you carried away the most precious of this kingdom? O you wicked Kataka! When you returned the palace, you cried loudly. Why then did you not make a single sound when my husband left the palace riding on you? If you had wailed then, everybody in the palace would have been awakened. He would have been prevented from going out. And we would not have been suffering this kind of sorrow right now!"
The Princess Yosadhara's words are like ten thousand sharp swords piercing into Channa's heart. He folds his hands and prostrates before her:
"My princess! Please hear my words. Please do not blame me. It is not of our wrongdoings. It is the truth which arouse the determination in the heart of the crown prince, to live a monastic life. We are only obeying his commands.
"Please allow me to tell you what happened on the night he left. The crown prince rides the white horse as if urged by heavenly beings. The horse did not need whips, but runs so fast as if flying. Without understanding, I followed right behind. My own feet and the horse's feet were as if never touching the ground. When we were going out of the city, it was as if the gate opened automatically. That night was well lit like bright day time. There was not a single sound round about, except us as if flying over the sky.
"My Prince! This is not attained by human strength. It must be Heaven's intervention!"
After hearing this, the Princes Yosodhara knows that this is the Heavenly beings receiving the crown prince into the ascetic. Therefore, it is not the fault of Channa and the white horse. Nevertheless, this understanding cannot give her relief from her grievance. She therefore, speaks to herself:
"I have lost my husband. Therefore, I have lost all of my joy. In order to pursue truth, he goes as far as rejecting me. Form now on, whom can I rely on? Life will be so lonesome from now on. How am I going to live it?
Many sages and hermits go on ascetic lifestyle in the mountains and forests together as husband and wife. If my husband wants to pursue ascetic, I can go with him. How can he leave me behind and go by himself?
"The ancient scripts records that all practices and worships should be performed by husband and wife. Thus they plant the same cause and will receive the same effect. They can go up to heaven together to enjoy happiness. But now why would my husband not take me along with him?"
"Is it possible that the practice he seeks is different from the ancient ones?
"Does he despise me because I am jealous, so he will find one who is not jealous? Does he despise me because I look ugly, so he will find someone who is beautiful to accompany him in his practices?
"O how bitter is my fate! I am abandoned by my husband! But what fault does Rahula have? What a pity that no sooner than he enters this world, he loses the tender love of his father.
"Ah! My husband is indeed cold blooded. He appears gentle kind and solemn, but why is his heart colder than ice? He has no pity over the tenderness of his son, and he does not understand my compassion over him. His heart is indeed like wood and stone!"
The young and beautiful princess Yosodhara is indeed like a lily in full bloom. The crown prince's departure is like violent winds and torrential rains which wrecks her heart! She is inevitably full of sorrow to the extreme!
Now let's leave the Princess Yosodharra sorrow and go to the king. Since the departure of his beloved son, the king mourns and grieves all and night. He fasts and washes himself everyday, praying to Heaven that the crown prince will soon return to the palace. Thus he lived seven to eight days, with each day like a year. Now he hears wailing and mourning all over the palace. He is panic. Then the guard comes to report, that the officers have taken Channa and the white horse and are requesting an audience of the king. The king immediately grants their request.
With fear and trembling, Channa reports to the king the experience of the crown prince's departure. The king passes out. When he comes to himself a long while later, he rebukes Channa:
"Channa! How is that you come back by yourself! Even though you labor in service, but your merit is not sufficient for your error. You are an ungrateful vicious slave! How can you leave the crown prince behind in the mountains and forests, and come back by yourself? Now hurry up, you and Kataka. Quickly take me to the forest where the crown prince is hiding. Or else you go and carry him back! I am like one consumed in sickness and near death without my crown prince. Unless he comes back, I will not heal. Now if he will never return, then I will have to kill myself in order release myself from this pain. I wait for his return as if a ghoul waiting for food!
"Channa! Why would you not tell me where my son lives? Tell me where!"
The king's speech is full of grievance. He touches his officers around him. Among them, two smart officers try to comfort him:
"My king! Please do not grieve! Your grievance is no use, but only hurts your noble body. In the past may sage rulers denied their thrones and went out to practice ascetic. They did not have any sorrow in their hearts. Now the crown prince goes out in order to seek truth. H;s heart must be full of peace, not sorrow. My king! Do you remember the prophecy of Asita when the crown prince was born? You must know this is inevitable. Nevertheless, king! We can't bear to see you morning all day long. Therefore, we will go right away to the crown prince. And we will do all we can to persuade him to come back to you. Please trust our faithfulness to you, and do not grieve in vain!"
Hearing this, the king turns from sorrow to happiness:
"Well! Well! Now you hurry up and go! My heart has gone away already to where he is!"
Taking the order from the king, the two officers prepare for their departure right away.
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