Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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The Education of a Prince

When Prince Siddhartha was eight years old, teachers came to give him a proper education.

He studied the usual subjects, like reading, history, geography, science, and mathematics. But he also studied the Vedas, the Indian holy books. These were kept by the priests, called Brahmins. And, of course, he had to study the languages of the many groups around him.

He was excellent at his studie, and he quickly learned all that his teachers could tell him. His parents and teachers were amazed: whatever a teacher said, the young prince's mind took hold of it, and never let it go.

Nevertheless, he was never boastful or arrogant. The prince was always modest, and showed great respect to his teachers. His behavior was gentle and dignified toward everyone.

He was no bookworm, though. He was as good at sports and physical activities as he was at his studies. He was excellent at archery and good with a sword. He could shoot an arrow farther and straighter than any other boy. He was also a great horseman and chariot driver.

But even though he was good at winning races, he was willing to lose if his horse was tired. He felt that compassion was more important than competition.

  1. What courses might be important for educating a "prince" in our day?
  2. Do you think the description of the Prince's excellence in all areas is realistic? (Bear in mind his extraordinary career later.)
  3. Why is it important that, in addition to his academic skills and personal virtues, he be considered excellent at the sports of his day?
Next time: The Prince's Compassion

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