Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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Choosing a Bride

How to keep the prince from becoming a monk? King Shuddhodana was stumped. So he summoned his royal advisors and asked for their advice.

They advised him to do the natural thing: although it was true that Prince Siddhartha was a very special young man, they figured that, like any sixteen-year-old, he would be happy if he married a beautiful wife with gentle manners.

The king agreed. He ordered them to summon all the most beautiful maidens in his realm. The Prince would give a gift to each of them, and the advisors would watch carefully to see which girl he favored the most.

And so it was. Many maidens came, and the Prince gave exquisite gifts to each, one by one. But the Prince seemed bored, not at all interested in any of the young women. Everyone was puzzled. Finally, all the gifts were gone, and all the maidens had left.

Suddenly, one more maiden rushed in!

"O Prince," she asked, "have you no gift left for me?"

Prince Siddhartha was so overwhelmed by her beauty and manner that, smiling warmly, he gave her the string of jewels from his own neck. He tied it around her waist, and asked her name.

She was Yashodara, and her father was the king of Siddhartha's mother's hometown.

The courtiers who watched the Prince were overjoyed to see how he accepted Yashodara. They reported to the king, and plans for the wedding were begun.


  1. This seems a reasonable plan. Do you think it will work?
  2. In terms of storytelling, why do you think Yashodara arrives late, after all the gifts have been distributed?
  3. Is it significant, do you think, that Yashodara comes from the hometown of Siddhartha's mother?

Next time: The Wedding Competition

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