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  • Thong Tri Temple

The Story of Buddha: Prophecies (2)

Updated: May 30, 2022

March 19, 2020 | Compassion {Karuṇā}


The wise men began making new prophecies about Siddhartha’s future prospects. They predicted that Prince Siddhartha would be even greater than his father. King Shuddhodana was very proud upon hearing this news. He thought to himself, “If these wise men are correct, my son, Prince Siddhartha, may one day be the ruler not only of my small kingdom, but perhaps of the entire world! What a great honor for me and my family!”


In a faraway forest lived an old hermit named Asita, who was known as a holy man. He paid the King and Queen a visit a few days after the baby was born. They were both shocked and honored to see Asita, as he rarely left the forest. The King and Queen graciously welcomed Asita to the kingdom. “We are very honored that you have come to visit us, O holy teacher,” they greeted. “Please tell us the purpose of your journey and we shall serve you in any way we can,” they offered.


Asita responded joyfully, “I come bearing wonderful signs about things I have recently seen. They tell me that your son will gain great spiritual knowledge which will benefit many people. Since I have spent my entire life trying to obtain such holy wisdom, I felt compelled to come here as quickly as possible to meet him for myself.”


Ecstatic with the great news, the King excitedly hurried over to where the baby Prince slept and carefully cradled his son in his arms and brought him back to Asita. The wise, holy man stood staring at the baby Prince in silence for a prolonged time. Then, he backed away, looked sadly up at the sky, let out a heavy sigh, and began to cry.


Alarmed by Asita’s strange behaviors, the King and Queen became frightened. They both thought that maybe the holy man had seen something bad that would happen to their baby. The King fell to his knees and urgently pleaded, “O holy teacher, what have you seen that makes you weep? Didn’t you and all the other wise men say that my son was born to be a great man, to gain supreme knowledge? But now, you cry after looking at my baby. Does this mean that the Prince will die soon? Or something terrible will happen to him? He is my one and only beloved son. Please tell me quickly what you have seen for my heart is shaking with sadness and fear.”


“Please do not worry,” Asita reassured the King. “I am not crying because of something bad I saw for the Prince. O fortunate parents! Now that I see your son, I know that he will become more than merely a great man. There are special signs that I have seen on this child—such as the light that shines from his fingers—that tell me he will have a glorious future. If your son decides to stay with you in the kingdom, he will be the greatest king in history. He will rule far and wide and bring much peace and happiness to many. However, if he decides not to become a king, his future will be even greater! He will become a great teacher, showing all people how to live with peace and love in their hearts. Seeing the sadness in the world, he will leave your palace and find a way to end all suffering. Then, he will teach this way to whoever will listen.” The King and Queen let out a sigh of relief in hearing that their baby is safe.


Asita continued, “My sorrow is for myself. Dear King and Queen, I have spent my whole life seeking for a solution to end suffering. Today, I have met the child who will someday teach everything I have wanted to learn, but by the time he is old enough to teach, I shall already have died. Thus, I shall not be able to learn from him in his life. That’s why I am sad.” Taking one long, last look at the baby Prince, Asita slowly left the palace.


King Shuddhodana watched Asita leave and then turned towards the Prince. The King was happy that there was no danger to the Prince’s life. The King thought, “Asita has said that Prince Siddhartha will become either a great king or a great teacher. It would be much better if first he became King and continued to bring peace and happiness to all I rule. How proud I would be to have such a famous and powerful son to continue my legacy! Our future generations will prosper like no other people in history! “When my beloved Prince is a wizened old man like Asita, and has lived a full life and served his people as King; he can become a holy man if he so wishes.” King Shuddhodana was happy with the thoughts of fame that the Prince would someday have and imagined vividly the peace and happiness that all in his kingdom would possess.


To Be Continued….


May you all be free from suffering and all the causes of suffering!


Namo Shakyamuni Buddha.


References:

“Chơn Lý,” Tác Giả Đức Tổ Sư Minh Đăng Quang (Language in Vietnamese)

“Phật Học Phổ Thông,” Tác Giả Hòa Thượng Thích Thiện Hoa (Language in Vietnamese)

“The Seeker’s Glossary of BUDDHISM,” Edited by the Van Hien-Study Group, Sutra Translation Committee of the United States & Canada

“A Simple Path – Basic Buddhist Teachings,” by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

“The Buddha and His Teachings,” by Venerable Narada Mahathera (Sri Lanka 1970), Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.

"Kinh Tụng Hằng Ngày," Biên Soạn Thượng Tọa Thích Nhật Từ (Language Vietnamese)



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