Obstacles and determination of Prince Siddhartha to become an ascetic
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As a young person in the prime of his youth with a bright future ahead, it was not easy to renounce everything to become an ascetic. Prince Siddhartha overcame all obstacles to pursue the path of finding the truth. Read the following article for more details.
The fetter of family
After witnessing the four sights: old age, sickness, death, and an ascetic, Prince Siddhartha became increasingly thoughtful and sorrowful, which made King Suddhodana so worried. He feared that the Prince would become a monk as the hermit seers prophecy. Therefore, he decided to find his son a spouse to hold him off, and Princess Yasodhara of the neighboring country, a woman of great beauty and virtues, was selected. Prince Siddhartha and Princess Yashodhara actually had connection with each other from many lives — they had had 500 lifetimes as husband and wife — and till this life, they continued their happy life together in the imperial palace. However, the Prince still held on to a burning desire to become an ascetic.
When he turned 19, his wife gave birth to a son. Despite loving his son very much, he knew that having a child would be another big obstacle to his dream of becoming an ascetic. Therefore, the Prince named his son Rahula, meaning “fetter.”
Great renunciation for a great purpose
On the eighth day of the second lunar month, King Suddhodana held a grand dinner in which the Prince also joined. Late at night, when the party was over, the singers and dancers were so tired after performing that they slept over the palace floor. Some slept with drool dripping from their mouths, some with lipstick smudged on their pale faces and untidy clothes. As the Prince went through that room, he saw those people lying like corpses, reminding him of the dead person he had seen a few years ago and suddenly making him feel disgusted.
The Prince was determined to leave, lest secular life bind him further.
He ordered his charioteer Chandaka to prepare the horse Kanthaka, then went back to his room to see his wife and son for the last time. At that time, Princess Yasodhara was lying in her room holding the child and waiting for her husband to return. When the Prince opened the door, the Princess knew it was her husband, but she had a hunch that he would come to say goodbye to her. Yasodhara knew her husband's will; she didn't prevent him but wanted him to fulfill his wish. As a result, she turned her face inwards into the room, closing her eyes. Because if she looked at the door and had interaction with her husband, it may be difficult for him to leave. That was real and selfless love, and a huge sacrifice from Princess Yashodhara. The Prince looked at his wife and son one last time, closed the door and left the palace.
It was nothing short of a great renunciation. The Prince was in the prime of his youth with a very bright future ahead: A beautiful wife, a lovely son, a palace, a throne, and peoples expectations. However, he willingly forsook everything, determined to find a way to help all sentient beings be free from suffering.
When Prince Siddhartha had gone far away from the capital city and reached the river Anoma, he stopped and told Channa about his will to become an ascetic. The Prince unhesitatingly cut his hair with a sword, put on mendicant clothing, and gave all of his royal attire to Channa. The charioteer was extremely sad. Even the horse Kanthaka of Prince Siddhartha reacted strangely: It neighed three times and died on the spot. Channa insisted on following the Prince, but the Prince refused and asked him to return to the palace to inform the King.
After that, Prince Siddhartha embarked on the path of seeking enlightenment..
Determination to seek the truth
He really wanted to find out the truth of life. People were supposed to enjoy happiness, but why did they suffer? Why did they invariably experience old age, sickness, and death? Moreover, on the journey of old age, sickness and death, they also endured various miseries: love, affection, anger, hatred, and shame, etc.
The Prince also wondered whether death was the end? Why wasnt life everlasting? Why did everyone have to die? If death was the end, what was the meaning of this life? What did it mean to be a king and then die? If so, a king and a beggar were in no way different from each other. Doing good deeds or evil deeds would be the same because everyone died in the end.
After that, the Prince, with his noble vow, walked the path to find the truth of life and attain enlightenment…