Life of the Buddha

(Part One) 6. Prince Siddhartha's Wife

The five wise men who were at Prince Siddhartha’s naming ceremony not only predicted the great future of the new prince, but had given the king a warning. “When your son sees a sick man, an old man, a dead body and a monk, he will want to leave the palace and become a monk himself,” they had said.

These words worried the king. He became afraid that this son would see these four sights and leave the palace. To shield Siddhartha from any such experiences he employed many young servants to distract and protect him, and did not allow any sick or old people or monks to go into the palace. He built Siddhartha three palaces: one for winter, one for summer and one for the rainy season, as well as enclosed parks and hunting grounds.

Siddhartha played in a sunny world of gardens and groves, attended by dancing girls and musicians. He lived in a world of plenty and beauty. He could have whatever he wanted, yet he was not happy.

One day the king asked some wise people, “What shall I do to make my son happy? He seems depressed and sad always.” They answered, “Now your son is sixteen years old, why not find him a beautiful girl to marry?”

The king agreed and sent for all the beautiful girls in the country to come to the palace. When they had all arrived, a grand parade was arranged and the king asked the prince to choose one to be his wife.

Among them there was a most charming and kind girl by the name of Yasodhara. When Prince Siddhartha gave her a present more valuable than any he had given to the other maidens, the king saw that the prince had chosen his love. The king happily accepted Yasodhara and allowed his son to marry her.