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>> Previsous page    5. The Pleasure Palaces   6. A Song of Beauty  7. An Unexpected Sight  8. The Second Journey
9. The Final Shock  10. Fading Pleasures   next page >>   
11. A Vision of Peace  12. A Father's Fear 13. Escape 14. The Journey Begins  15. Six Years of Struggle An Offering  17. The Great Battle 18. Awakened   19. Whom to Teach 20. The First Teaching  21. A Mother's Grie 22. A Rude Man 23. Words of Praise  24. Kindness to Animals 25. The power of Love  26. The return 27. The King and the Spirit Tree 28. Equal love to All 29. The Final days


The Pleasure Palaces

 Soon afterwards, Prince Siddhartha and Princess Yasodhara were married. The King wanted to be certain that his son would never desire to leave the kingdom, so he ordered not one but three magnificent places to be built for the new couple. "Make them as beautiful as possible," he told the chief builder. "I want them to be so magnificent that the people entering them will think they are in heaven.

"I want one to be a summer palace, made of cool marble and surrounded by refreshing pools and fountains. The second will be the winter palace, warm and comfortable. And the third will be for the rainy reason. Place these palaces in the middle of a large park, with beautiful scenery in every direction. And surround the park with a large wall, so that nothing unpleasant from the outside world can ever get in. Everything is to be so perfect that Prince Siddhartha will be tempted to leave."

The King did everything possible to make these new homes attractive to the Prince. He had the most skilled musicians in his kingdom play there throughout the day and into the night. All the servants were beautiful young dancing girls, and the chefs in the kitchen were instructed to serve a never-ending variety of delicious food. Nothing was allowed into the palaces that night disturb the Prince's mind and make him want to leave.

And so for many years Prince Siddhartha lived in these heavenly surroundings. From morning to night he was entertained in a thousand ways. He never say anything that was not beautiful, nor ever heard any sound that was not sweet and pleasant. For instance, if one of the servant girls became ill, she was removed from the palace and not allowed to return until she was better again. In this way, the Prince never saw sickness or anything that might disturb his gentle mind. The King ordered that no one speaking to the Prince should ever mention anything sad or depressing. And even if one of the plants in the garden began to droop or wilt, it was immediately snipped off by a special gardener . Thus the Prince never even saw a faded or dying flower! In all these ways, then, he was kept ignorant of the suffering and unpleasantness in the world.

The time went by, Yasodhara had a son who was Rahula. Everything seemed like to desire. The King was very pleased, glad that his plans to keep the Prince interested in the royal life were working out so well.

A Song of Beauty

 One evening after dinner, Prince Siddhartha lay reclining on his couch, his head resting in Yasodhara's lap. The musician were playing sweet melodies and the servant girls were whispering and laughing quietly to each other. The evening was like so many the Prince had known since moving into the pleasure palaces. But this night he felt a bit restless. Turning to one of his favorite singers, he requested, "Please lull us to sleep with a song. Choose a tune you have never sung for me before."

The singer graciously agreed and began to make up a new song from the words that floated through her mind; all the while accompanying herself on a stringed instrument. She sang of the beauties of the world, of the distant lands where she had traveled as a child, of golden cities where happy people lived.

The song enchanted the Prince and when it was over he asked the singer, "tell me truly, are there really such beautiful places beyond these garden walls? What kind of lives do the people in the city live? Are there things in this world more lovely than what I have seen in these magnificent palaces? Please tell me all you know."

"O Prince," she answered, "surely these palaces of yours are most magnificent; but there are many other beautiful things to be seen in this wide world. There are cities and towns, mountains and valleys, distant lands where people speak strange languages. There are many things that I have seen, and many more that I have only heard about. Your palaces and gardens are indeed beautiful, but there is much to see outside their walls."


Hearing this, the Prince became interesting in seeing all these strange and wonderful things for himself. For so many years he had been content to live within the pleasure palaces and gardens, completely forgetting about the world beyond. But now he desired to journey out, and so he sent a message to the King requesting him to arrange a travel party into the city beyond the garden walls.


An Unexpected Sight

 The King still wanted to be certain that his son would not see anything on his trip that might disturb his mind. This might make him want to leave the kingdom and follow the holy life. So the day before the Prince was about to travel to the city, the King sent his servants and soldiers out with this message: "By order of the King! Tomorrow the royal Prince Siddhartha will visit the capital city of Kapilavastu. Decorate your houses and the streets and let everything be colorful in his honor. Let those who are sick or old or in any way unhealthy stay indoors tomorrow. Nothing should be seen in the city that is not young and fair and beautiful." And then, very gently, the soldiers took all the street beggars and brought them to a part of the city where the Prince would not visit.

When the morning came, the charioteer Channa groomed the Prince's favorite horse, Kantaka, and drove out through the palace gates with his royal passenger. It was the first time the Prince had seen Kapilavatu since he was a small child, and it was the first that the most of the citizens of the city had ever seen their Prince.

Everyone was excited and lined the newly decorated streets to catch a glimpse of the handsome young man as he rode by. "How tall and good looking he is!" They said to one another. "How bright his eyes and his brow!" We are indeed fortunate that someday he will be our king."

And the Prince, too, was delighted. The city was sparkling and clean and everywhere he saw people laughing and cheering and even dancing. The streets where he rode were covered with the flower petals the citizens joyously threw towards their beloved Prince. "The song was true," he remembered happily. "This is indeed a golden, beautiful and wondrous city!"

But as the Prince and his charioteer were riding by they spotted an old, bent, sad-looking person among the joyous crowd. Curious-for the Prince had never seen anything like this before-he turned and asked, "Channa, who is that person over there? why is he stooping over and not dancing like the others? Why is his face not smooth and shining like everyone else's; why is it pale and wrinkled? Why is he so different from the others?"

And Channa pointed to that man, who remained unseen by everyone else, and answered the Prince, "Why Sir, that is just an old man."

"Old?" the Prince questioned. " Was this man always "old" like this before, or did it happen to him recently?"

"Neither, O Prince," Channa answered. "Many years ago that wrinkled man before you was young and strong as all the others you see here today. But slowly he lost his strength. His body became bent, the colors faded from his cheeks, he lost most of his teeth, and now he appears the way he does."

Surprised and saddened, Siddhartha asked again, "That poor man, is he the only one suffering the weakness of old age? Or are there any others like him?"

"Surely you know, O Prince, that everyone must experience old age. You, me, your wife Yasodhara, Rahula, everyone at the palace-we are all growing older every moment. Someday most of us will look like that man."

These words so shocked the gentle Prince that for a long time he remained speechless. He looked like a person who had just been frightened by a sudden lightning flash. Finally he regained his voice and spoke, "O Chana, I have seen something today that I never expected to see. In the midst of all these happy young people this vision of old age frightens me. Turn the chariot back to the palace ; all my enjoyment of this trip has fled. Turn back; I wish to see no more."

Channa did as commanded. When they arrived back home, the Prince entered his palace without greeting anyone, hurried upstairs to his own room, and sat by himself for a long time. Everyone noticed how strangely he acted and tried hard to cheer him up. But nothing helped. At dinner he did not touch any of his food, even though the chef prepared his favorite meal. He paid no attention to the music and dancing, but sat by himself thinking, "Old age, Old age, Old age..."

The Second Journey

The King heard about his son's unhappy mood and wondered what could have gone wrong. "He needs more variety, " the King thought. "I will plan another trip for him , but this time to an even more beautiful section of the city."

And so Channa prepared Kantaka again, and again they rode out into Kapilavastu. The streets were decorated as before, and the people were again happy to see their Prince. But this time, seen only by Siddhartha and his charioteer, a vision of a sick person appeared in the crowd of laughing people.

"Look, Channa," the Prince called out. "Who is that man who coughs so violently, who shakes his body and cries so pitifully?"

"That is a sick person, O Prince." "Why is he sick?" he asked. "People become sick for many reasons, Sire. Perhaps he ate some bad food or let himself become too cold. Now his body is out of balance and he feels feverish."

"Do even happy people like those in the crowd ever become sick?" "Oh yes," answered the charioteer. " A person might be healthy one day and sick the next. No one is safe from illness." For the second time the Prince was deeply shocked. " I can not understand," he said , "how people can be so carefree and happy knowing that sickness might strike them at any time. Please, turn back the chariot. I have seen more than enough for one day." When he returned to the palace the Prince was even more unhappy than before. Nothing anyone did could make him smile, and he did not want to speak to anyone. When the King found out about his son's unhappiness he became very worried and confused. "I have tried everything to make my son happy, but lately his heart is filled with gloom. I must ask my ministers what I can do to brighten my son's spirits."

They suggested that the next time the Prince wanted to leave the palace grounds, he should not go alone. Rather, he should be accompanied by singers, dancers and nobles from the court. And they should plan to visit a specially prepared garden where the Prince could be amused and distracted by all sorts of entertainment.

And so, when Prince Siddhartha again requested to visit the city beyond the garden walls, many arrangements were made to make the journey as enjoyable as possible. The city was beautiful even more than before . All unpleasant sights removed and a special park was prepared with all manner of delights.

The Final Shock

 Siddhartha and Channa again left the palace by chariot. With their accompanying ministers, musicians and servants they looked like part of a ceremonial parade. As before, the people lined the streets and feasted their eyes on the grand, royal procession.

But for a third time a vision appeared that only the Prince and his charioteer could see. A group of sad eyed people, carrying a long box in which a body covered in a orange sheet lay, appeared from one of the houses and slowly made its way down one of the side streets.

"Channa, why is that man in the box lying so still?" Is he asleep? And why are all those people crying? Where are they taking him? "He is dead man, Sire. They are going to the river where they will burn his body." The Prince was confused. "What do you mean by dead? And if they burn his body , will it not burn him? Please, Channa, explain what you mean so I can understand."

And so Channa explained, telling the Prince the truths his father had tried to hide from him all these years. "That man was once alive, as you and I are now. He was born, grew into a child, then he became a young man. He experienced the many pleasures and pains of life, raised a family, worked for a living and grew older. Then he began to get weaker and weaker. He was confined to his bed. Soon he was unable to recognize even his closest friends. He grew worse and eventually his breath left his body. And with his final breath, his understanding and life-force also left. Now he is dead. All that is left behind to see is the body he cared for so much while he was still alive. It lies there cold and without feeling. When his family burn the body he will not feel anything, because he has already left it behind."

"Tell me, Channa, is it unusual for people to die like this?" The charioteer answered "No, my Prince, not at all. It is true that there are some people who never get the chance to grow old, and there are some who are very rarely sick. But everyone, without exception, must one day die."

These words, uttered innocently by the charioteer, shocked the Prince deeply. "Do you mean," he exclaimed passionately, "that one day my wife, my child, my friends and myself will all be dead? And all these people I see here today, all dressed up so radiant, will also died? Oh, how blind is the world that it can dance and sing while death is just waiting for everyone! Why do they all bother to dress themselves in such fine clothes if one day they shall be wearing nothing more than a simple white sheet? Do people have such short memories that they forget about death? Or are their hearts so strong that the thought of death does not bother them? Come, Channa, turn the chariot around. I wish to return to the palace and think."

But instead, Channa drove the chariot to a beautiful garden. There all the most charming singers and dancers from the palace were waiting, along with musicians, ministers and a large feast prepared by the palace chefs. They all welcomed the Prince joyfully and cheered when he stepped from the chariot. But the Prince did not smile, nor did he say anything. His thoughts were totally absorbed in what he had seen that day.

Fading Pleasures

 Everyone tried his or her best to amuse the Prince. The dancing girls flirted with him, hoping to win at least a smile from his handsome but saddened face. Yet Siddhartha did not even seem to notice them. He could not get the visions of old age, sickness and death out of his mind.

One of the ministers, seeing that the Prince was not enjoying any of the splendid arrangements that had been made for him, came over to the Prince. In the joking manner of a friend he said, "Siddhartha, it is not right that you ignore these lovely dancers and refuse to join the festivities. Come on! You are young and healthy; you should be enjoying yourself. What is the matter? Aren't these women pretty enough for you?"

But the Prince answered him in a voice as strong and low as thunder. "You have misunderstood me. I do not dislike the lovely people and things I see here. But when I think of how quickly their beauty will disappear, how everything changes so fast, I can not find much pleasure in them anymore.

"If there were no old age, sickness and death, then I too, could find great pleasure in such lovely objects. But in the middle of such unhappiness, knowing what awaits us all in the future, how can I be satisfied with pleasures that will fade so quickly? "You, my friend, must have a stronger heart than mine if you can be amused so easily. But for me, everything I see is on fire with suffering. Until I find a way out of this suffering, such worldly amusements do not interest me at all." And so, unable to brighten the Prince's mood, everyone returned sadly to the palace. When the ministers told the King that his son could not be entertained or distracted by anything, he felt so much grief that he could not sleep, "O, my beloved son," he thought to himself, "what else can I do to keep you here in my kingdom with me? What other pleasures can I provide so that you will stay? And with such worried thoughts, fearful that he would soon lose his only son, the King spent the night in despair.

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BCP Infini BCP Infini

I believe we can go beyond all limits.

I love to create things that surprise.
"Creating is not a work. It is to breathe, it is to exist."

I am Carl-Philippe Brenner, a young graphic and web designer based in Bordeaux, France. I graduated from Design Institut (Web Designer and Webmaster), Bordeaux.
I am currently working as a freelance for various compagnies from Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Having a huge curiosity, I love to explore new horizons. So welcome to my expanding world which does not finish to grow up.


Freelance Graphic & Web Designer. Working for clients around the world and making them happy.


Graduated from IDAE Institut de Design et d'Am�nagement d'Espace (Web Designer and Webmaster), Bordeaux.


Sales Manager at DIFF Studio & Freelance Graphic Designer. Brand Strategy, Project Management ...


Freelance Graphic Designer in Ivory Coast. Brand Identity Design, Packaging Design, Advertising, Consulting ...

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