A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Siddharta heads out

Even with every desire met, Siddharta had a desire to see more, to know everything. His father granted his wish to see more of the real world, but had his staff, make sure everything was perfect, prosperity and happiness was everywhere Siddharta went. Till on one trip he saw an old man with long white hair, and using a cane. Siddharta was shocked an asked his servant Channa what manner of creature is this? His servant replied it was a man, an old man and that eventually everyone ended up in this state. His father upon hearing this was causing the Prince to ponder life, redoubled his efforts to ensure, his son remained on the path to becoming the next ruler, not a mystic. Alas on another trip Siddharta came across a man who was sick. Channa assured the Prince, that he need not worry about this, as he ate a good diet and had plenty of exercise. Yet again the king made greater efforts to keep his son on the path of becoming a king. This proved ineffective as well, as Siddharta chanced upon a funeral procession. Channa explained that this was death, which happened to all living beings. Siddharta was shocked, as he had never seen any of these before. He started to wonder about everything, was there any purpose did life have true meaning. Not long after this on another journey Siddharta came upon a man wearing an orange robe, silently and slowly preceding down the road. He carried with him only an empty bowl, which people placed food into. At first Siddharta thought the man would be unhappy with so little, yet when he saw the mans face, he was not only smiling but he radiated an inner peace or joy. Once again asking Channa, he learnt this was a monk, a man who renounced the material world, and instead searched for spiritual truth. About this time Siddharta became the father of a son. His father the king threw a epic celebration, the finest food, exotic goods from all over, beautiful dancing girls, musicians and more. Siddharta fell asleep, and soon the rest of the party was asleep as well. Siddharta awoke, saw the dancing girls who just hours ago looked so beautiful, now were sleeping in unattractive positions, still wet from sweat, some snoring, some drooling. Siddharta seeing even more of the real world, decided to leave, to seek answers to the questions he now had. This was not going according to custom. If Siddharta had completed his family and kingly duties, then set out on his spiritual journey, it would not have raised eyebrows. For it was the custom for men, after their family was raised, their family provided for, to set out on seeking the ultimate truth. Siddharta shaved his head, left his fine clothes, and jewelry behind, and set out to find the answers, promising to return and share this knowledge with his family.


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