A Sketch of the Buddha's Life

Readings from the Pali Canon

13,055 words

This modest selection of excerpts from the Pali Canon provides a rough sketch of the life of the Buddha. I hope you will find enough in this rather sparse selection to gain at least an inkling both of the range of the Buddhas teachings and of the sweeping trajectory of his extraordinary life....

A King Wonders

Why Have You Gone Forth?

Hearing the messengers words,
the noble warrior king
straight away went by royal coach,
out to Mount Pandava.
Going as far as the coach would go,
he got down, went up on foot,
and on arrival sat down.
Sitting there,
he exchanged courteous greetings,
then said:
"You are young, youthful,
in the first stage of youth,
endowed with the stature and coloring
of a noble warrior.
You would look glorious
in the vanguard of an army,
arrayed with an elephant squadron.
I offer you wealth: enjoy it.
I ask your birth: inform me."

"Straight ahead, your majesty,
by the foothills of the Himalayas,
is a country consummate
in energy and wealth,
inhabited by Kosalans:
Solar by clan,
Sakyans by birth.
From that lineage I have gone forth,
but not in search of sensual pleasures.
Seeing the danger in sensual pleasures
-- and renunciation as rest --
I go to strive.
Thats where my heart delights."

[Snp III.1]

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