The Four Sights: a Monk
many days of contemplation and distress, Siddhartha visited
the city for the fourth time. As he was driving to the
park he saw a happy man wearing an orange coloured robe.
He asked Channa, "Who is this man wearing an orange
robe? His hair is shaved off. Why does he look so happy?
How does he live and what does he do for a living?"
is a monk." replied Channa, "He lives in a temple,
goes from house to house for his food and goes from place
to place telling people how to be peaceful and good."
The prince felt very happy now. He thought, "I must
become one like that," as he walked through the park.
walked until he was tired, then sat under a tree to think
some more. As he was sitting under the cool shady tree,
news came that his wife had given birth to a fine baby
boy. When he heard the news he said, " An impediment
("rahula") has been born to me, an obstacle
to my leaving has been born," and thus his son's
name became Rahula.
he was returning to the palace he met the Princess called
Kisagotami. She had been looking out of the palace window
and, seeing the prince coming, was so taken by his handsome
looks that she said loudly, "Oh! How happy must be
the mother, and father, and the wife of such a handsome
he passed this woman, Siddhartha heard this and thought
to himself, "In a handsome figure the mother, father
and wife find happiness. But how does one escape obstacles
and suffering to reach nirvana (escape from suffering,
a lasting liberation which is happiness and genuine peace)?"
With this question he realised what he must do. "I
must quit this household life and retire from the world
in quest of enlightenment. This lady has taught me a valuable
lesson. I will send her a teacher's fee." Loosening
a valuable pearl necklace from about his neck, Siddhartha
honoured his word and sent it as payment to Kisagotami,