Siddhartha Gautama is popularly known as Buddha. He is said to have lived in the 5th Century BC.
But in this post, we are concerned about his life, prior to achieving enlightenment. Much before he even set out on the path of achieving enlightenment. Much before he became a Buddha.
“Suddhodana (Siddhartha’s father) invited eight Brahman scholars to read the future and all of them gave a dual prediction that the baby (Siddhartha Gautama) would either become a great King or a great Holy man”
First off, how do people do that? How can one predict the future of a person so accurately? I am not talking about the King part, it was evident as he was born into a Royal family. But the prediction of becoming a ‘Holy man’ came out to be exactly true!
The question here is, were the people predicting his future helping the King to attain knowledge of the future so that he could control it better using that knowledge, or was that knowledge a way that would inevitably lead to the exact predetermined results?
The King thought it was the former.
“His father, wishing his son to be a great King, is said to have shielded him from religious teachings and from the knowledge of human suffering”
So, Siddhartha Gautama was practically given everything he wanted. His needs were fulfilled and he should have lived a relatively luxurious life (by the standards back then) without the knowledge of suffering. After all, he was the son of a King.
But why shield him from suffering? Why keep him ignorant of the worldly facts?
Obviously, the King wanted his son to become a Prince and get used to the luxuries of being a Prince, so that the possibility of his becoming a Holy man becomes increasingly remote.
Does that ring some bells?
“At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father’s efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man.
When his charioteer explained to him that all people grow old, the Prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these, he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse and an ascetic.
These depressed him and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness and death by living the life of an ascetic. Gautama then quit his palace for the life of a mendicant”
We’re all familiar with people who are deprived of happiness, seek happiness. But why do people who are deprived of pain, actively seek it?
PS: Quotes taken from Wikipedia article on Gautama Buddha.