Buddha story 6: Great renunciation in Buddhism

In the previous episode, we learned how one hermit first smiled and then cried after meeting baby Buddha and also about the early life of Gautama Buddha. In this episode, we would learn about the great renunciation of Lord Buddha.

Prince Siddhattha was bored with his luxurious life in the palace and was eager to see the world outside. He wanted to know what existed outside the walls of the palace, for he had not gone out even once.

He decided to take a walk in the royal park outside the palace and on the way he saw an old man, a sick person, a dead body, and a monk. These sights made him ponder the meaning of life, and he realized he wanted to escape the cycle of suffering. He made the decision to leave his home and family.

It all happened on the night when a son was born to his wife, however, immune to anything which would tend to upset the equanimity of his mind. It was midnight when the solemn determination was made.

He asked his attendant Channa to keep his stallion Khanthaka ready. After a parting look at his wife and the newly born babe, Prince Siddhattha broke away from all the ties of family and of the world and made the Great Renunciation. He rode across the town to the river Anoma, which he crossed, and only to return when his mission had been achieved.

Prince Siddhattha left his palace, crossed the river Anoma, and became a monk. He was unfamiliar with the lifestyle and went to a mango orchard near Anupriyā village for a week to experience the joys of being a monk. He then went to a teacher named Alara Kalama to learn more about meditation.

In the next episode, we would learn about Siddhartha Gautama’s (Buddha) journey in search of truth.