Saturday, August 13, 2011

Baby Prince Siddhattha

The Baby Prince

King Suddhodana and all the other Shakyan princes were given their education by a very virtuous and wise Brahmin called Asita. He was a sage who lived in the jungle close to the Himalayas.  He spent his time meditating in a kuti there, when one morning he saw and heard the Devas singing and dancing in rejoice.  On inquiring he found out that a baby son has been born to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya and that this boy prince  would one day become the perfectly enlightened one surpassing all beings. When he heard this Asita the sage became delighted and hurried to Kapilawastu pura to see the King.

When King Suddhodana saw him he was very happy that his wise old teacher has thus come to see his baby son, even before he could send message informing him about the birth of his first born.  He brought the little baby prince to show him to the wise old sage, also for the sage to examine and predict his little one’s future. However, when he thus held the baby his little feet touched the Jathah (head dress) of the Brahmin. 

Surprised at this the sage took hold of his little feet and saw by the layout of the lines of the little soles that this baby will definitely be the perfectly enlightened one. He was so happy at this and got up from his seat and holding his hands in anjali, paid respects to the little baby. When the King saw this teacher thus venerating the baby, he too held his hands together and venerated his baby son. (This was the first time the King, the father of the Buddha to be, thus paid respects to his baby son.) However, Asita’s delight changed into sadness when he realized, that by the time this baby would become enlightened, he himself would have passed away from the human realm to the realm of “Neva-sagna na-sagna yathana” – the realm of neither perception nor perception[1].  So, a prediction was made that this baby boy will be the perfectly enlightened Buddha one day.  The little prince was named Siddhattha.  (Siddhartha in Sanskrit which literally means doing good to the world.)

On the seventh day of Prince Siddhattha’s birth his mother Queen Maha Maya passed away, and thereafter, her younger sister Maha Prajapathi who was King Suddhodana’s second wife, looked after the baby like her own son.

[1] The mind is so subtle in this realm that it cannot be perceived nor not perceived.  Extremely high practices of Samadhi (extreme stillness of the mind) brings about this situation.  However, The Buddha realized that  this is not Nibbhana.