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May 30th
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Home History General The Buddha's Life - Page 3

The Buddha's Life - Page 3

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Article Index
The Buddha's Life
Noble and Ignoble Quests
Renunciation of Worldly Life
Meeting Alara, the Great Ascetic
Meeting the Sage Udaka
Practising Extreme Austerities
Mara's Persuasion
Right Reasoning
The Enlightenment
Giving First Sermon
Meeting with Upaka
Group of Five Monks
All Pages

Renunciation of Worldly Life


On his fourth excursion to the pleasure-grove, the Bodhisatta met a monk. On learning from the monk that he had gone forth from a worldly life and was engaged in meritorious pursuits, it occurred to the Bodhisatta to renounce worldly life, become a recluse and go in search of what is not subject to old age, disease and death. When he had gained what he had set out for, his intention was to pass on the knowledge to the world so that other beings would also learn to be free from misery of being subjected to old age, disease and death. A noble thought, a noble intention indeed!

On that same day and at about the same time, a son was born to the Bodhisatta's consort Yasodhara Devi. When he heard the news, the Bodhisatta murmured,

"An impediment ( Rahula) has been born, a fetter has been born."

On learning of this remark of the Bodhisatta's father, his sire King Suddhodan caused his newborn grandson to be named Prince Rahula (Prince Impediment), hoping that the child would indeed prove to be a fetter to the Bodhisatta and become a hindrance to his plan for renunciation.

But the Bodhisatta had become averse to the pleasures of the world. That night he remained unmoved, unsolaced by the amusements provided by the royal entertainers and went into an early slumber. The discouraged musicians lay down their instruments and went to sleep there and then. On awakening in the middle of the night, the sight of recumbent, sleeping dancers repulsed the Bodhisatta and made his magnificent palace apartment seem like a cemetery filled with corpses.

Thus at midnight the Bodhisatta went forth on the Great Retirement riding the royal horse, Khandaka, accompanied by his courtier, Channa. When they came to the river Anoma, he cut off his hair and beard while standing on the sandy beach. Then after discarding the royal garments, he put on the yellow robes offered by the Brahma God, Ghantikara, and became a monk. The Bodhisatta was only twenty-nine then, an age most favourable for the pursuit of pleasures. That he renounced with indifference the pomp and splendour of a sovereign and abandoned the solace and comfort of his consort, Yasodhara, and retinues, at such a favourable age while still blessed with youth is really awe-inspiring.


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" He who keeps his mind on the impurities (of the body), who is well-controlled in his senses, and is full of faith and energy, will certainly be not overwhelmed by Mara, just as stormy winds cannot shake a mountain of rock. "

The Dhammapada

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