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The Young Prince


A Painting of Prince Siddhattha drawn by a yound Sinhalese Artist from Gampaha, S. Lanka (Ceylon)

Prince Siddhattha's uncle King Suppabuddha, argued that the Prince will never defend his people nor his country as the Prince detested going into war.  His daughter Princess Yasodhara fell in love with the Prince. At a contest with other 500 young men which was organised by King Suppabuddha, Prince Siddhattha, showed his prowess in mental and physical abilities.  He proved that he is extremely clever and indeed "non pareil". The above painting depicts a scene from this contest where, Prince Siddhattha proved himself beyond doubt that he is the best archer in the country, surpassing all other contestants. He bent a very strong hard bow that could not be bent by any of the others, and shot at a distant target, where the arrow dissapeared from the visible distance of the crowd and hit the target perfectly. He then proved that he is excellent in defence art and therefore can indeed safeguard his country and its people.  King Suppabuddha had to accept his brilliance and agree for his daughter to marry the young Prince.

The Young Prince Siddhattha

Gandhara Statue - museum in Paris
When the boy prince was a few years old the King sent him to school.  He learnt many things befitting a prince’s education, as was the norm. His teacher was Vishva Mithra.  His curriculum included languages, reading writing, mathematics, history, geography, science and sports like boxing, archery, wrestling, fencing or sword fighting, horse riding, shooting and many more.  He was brilliant at everything and excelled in studies and sports. There were many other boys from noble families in his class. The little prince was so intelligent that Vishava Mithra was amazed to see him toy with numbers amounting to millions when learning maths when only five. He went up to the King and told him “your son already knows there’s nothing that I can teach him in numbers.” However sportive the little prince was he did not like hurting other boys, and was always  kind and loved his friends.  His friends loved him too.

He was the best boy in class. His teachers loved this inquisitive prince who always asked questions but remained very obedient and never lazy. Very soon this prince learnt all what the teachers could teach and became cleverer than his teachers.

He loved animals and never liked to see them suffer.  When he was ten, he went with his father, the King to watch the first sowing of paddy seeds in the fields.  Ploughing  the field with buffaloes at the beginning of the season after harvesting, was an annual event. It  was a great celebrations among the Shakyans and the King himself participated.  This is called “Vap Magula” The little boy was sitting under a rose apple tree, watching the buffaloes at work and he felt so sorry for them, seeing how they were worked off by humans.  He closed his eyes and went into deep stillness of mind which in Pali is called “ Samadhi”.  Seeing him thus meditating under the rose apple tree, deep in Samadhi, the King worshipped him for the second time.

Prince Siddhattha saving the swan
Prince Siddhattha had a horse called Kanthaka.  This horse was very close to him, and loved the Prince very much.  As the Prince was a very kind hearted horseman Kanthaka enjoyed having him on his back and performing various skills.

Feats that the two of them had performed then, have not yet been matched by anyone, let alone surpassed even after 2500 years.  The closest who ever came anywhere near, was King Alexander the Great and his horse.