Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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Among the Beautiful People

Siddhartha's father now felt a little better about his son's future, but he was still on his guard, worried that his son might become a monk and lose the chance to be a universal king.

He had already had high walls built around all the gardens.

But now, he also hired all kinds of entertainers: singers, dancers, jugglers--anyone who could make the prince happy. But there was still one little problem.

With so many people around the prince--servants, gardeners, cooks, entertainers, and so on--the king was worried that some of these people might remind the prince of the sad things in life. They might talk about sad things, or they might get sick. Others among them would grow old.

So the king issued orders that no one was to speak of old age, sickness, or death. Furthermore, he ordered that only young, cheerful, healthy, pleasant people were to surround the prince. If anyone got sick, they should leave the palace at once, and not return until they were better. The king would not allow anyone to look sad or tired around the prince.

You see, the king was determined to do everything he could to keep the prince from leaving and becoming a monk.


  1. What do you think of the king's plans? Was the king thinking clearly? Do his plans seem like good ideas?
  2. Were his plans fair to the prince? How about to those around him?
  3. As I read this story, I can see trouble brewing. I feel the king is trying too hard. What do you think?

Next time: The Four Sights

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