Buddhism Simplified
Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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Siddhartha and the Sages

When the baby and his mother returned home, sages were summoned to cast his horoscope.

The first to arrive was Asita, King Suddhodana's old teacher. Like Simeon in the Gospels, he was overwhelmed to think that he had lived long enough to see "the promised one," though saddened that he wouldn't live long enough to see his great achievement come to pass.

Five sages (other numbers are sometimes given) also arrived, in a group.

The traditions diverge as to who said what, but the upshot is this:

Some sages said the baby would become a great king; others, that he would become a world savior. The difference between the two results would be determined by the boy's upbringing. If the king had his way, his son would become a universal monarch, a "chakravartin."

The baby was then named "Siddhartha," which means "the one who achieves his goal."

  1. How do you feel about the idea of "life charts," where a person's entire fate can be determined at birth? What role does Fate play in our lives?
  2. If you were a king, would you want your son to be a king, or a Buddha? Why?
  3. Do you think the name a baby is given can affect the development of his or her character?
Next time: The Death of Maya

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