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Mother dreamed that she was carried high over the Himalayas to a silver mountain and set on a silver couch. A white elephant with six tusks walked around her and then struck her in the right side. Priests explained what the dream means. "You are carrying a child who will be a great man."
The queen gave birth to Prince Siddhartha in a garden. Stories say that after the princes birth, a soft, warm rain of heavenly flowers fell on the baby and his mother. According to the Buddhist tradition, the infant prince already looked a few years old and could walk and talk.
The king decided to protect his son from all the horrors of the world. He raised the prince in a perfect world of wealth and beauty. He provided Siddhartha with only the finest gardens, houses, education, and food. Servants took care of the princes every need , from washing his clothes to playing music for his amusement.
After Siddhartha became a father himself, the king gave hi more freedom to travel outside the royal palaces. According to the Buddhist tradition, during his journeys, the prince discovered three forms of suffering. On the first trip, he saw someone die of age. On his second trip, he saw a guy that was sick. On his third trip, he saw a group walking slowly holding a person in white cloth. Death came for that man."How can you sit there so peacefully when there is so much suffering in the world around you?" the prince asked the ascetic. He replied, "To be free of suffering, one must give up the desires, pleasures, and comforts of the world
Prince Siddhartha experiences with suffering transformed him. suddenly, his royal life seemed empty. He wanted to find the happiness and peace that the ascetic found. Siddhartha decided to give up his own life and search for enlightenment. At the edge of the dark woods, Siddhartha removed his royal robes, sandals, and jewels. He cut his hair off with a knife. Siddhartha began his ascetic life. Siddhartha met other ascetics as he wandered the forest and fields. Like him, they wanted to understand the nature of the world. They believed that thy could reach enlightenment through meditation. Siddhartha quickly became an expert at meditation. Siddhartha continued to follow the way of the ascetics for some time. And he had not yet found the key to enlightenment.
Siddhartha had learned that giving up bodily pressures did not bring enlightenment. He decided to find a balance between the extremes of pleasure and pain. He would be neither a prince nor and ascetic. During the night, his mind filled with the truths e had been seeking. He saw his past lives and the great cycle of rebirth. By morning, the young prince had become the buddha, the awenked one. He had reached enlightenment.
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