It was a lovely evening. It had just drizzled. The cool breeze gently hit the little boy’s face who was walking barefoot on the wet, lush green grass. The breeze carried with it a pleasant smell of wet mud blended with the scent freshly blossomed roses. The little boy was loving it. He wanted to soak in this serenity. He loved nature. This little boy was no other than Prince Siddhartha, son of King Sudhodhana of kingdom of Kapilavastu in Nepal.
Suddenly the calmness was disrupted. An injured white swan, writhing in pain and frantically fluttering his wings fell in front of him. Siddhartha ran to it and scooped it up in his hands. The swan had been hit with an arrow. Blood was oozing out of the wound. Siddhartha promptly, but gently pulled out the arrow.
Just then, his cousin, Devadatta, came running. He was carrying a bow and a quiver full of arrows. He demanded that the bird that he had hunted. Siddhartha refused to hand over the distressed bird and instead took it inside the palace to tend to it.
Next day the issue was brought up in palace’s court by Devadatta. He demanded his bird back saying that he is the rightful owner as he had hunted the bird. Compassionate prince on the other hand said that he had a greater right on the bird as he had saved its life. Saving a life is a bigger deed than killing someone. The courtiers agreed more with the prince and let him keep the bird.
Such was prince Siddhartha’s demeanour. He couldn’t see anyone in pain. He had great compassion for sick and old people. When Siddhartha was around 29 years old, he decided that material things did not give him any comfort. He left his lavish life behind to live life of a saint to find inner peace. He underwent rigorous penance but realised that he had learnt nothing from it.
- Three Signs of Beings
- Four Noble Truths
- Noble Eightfold Path
While we must explore Buddha’s teachings some other time, we must remember that Buddha taught us that we should always have love and compassion for others and that we must always lead a truthful life.