Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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The Wedding Competition

But the wedding of Prince Siddhartha to Princess Yashodara could not be conducted just yet.

In those days, tradition required that a prince of the Kshatriya caste had to prove that he was a great warrior.

First he had to show that he was a good swordsman. To do this, Prince Siddhartha cut through the trunk of a tree. He did it so well that the tree didn't fall until the wind pushed it over!

Next he had to shoot an arrow farther than anyone. And he did, even beating his rival, Prince Devadatta.

Next, of course, was horsemanship. They had a race. Prince Siddhartha easily won on Kanthaka. So everyone said Siddhartha hadn't won: Kanthaka had!

To retry his horsemanship, the elders decided that all the young men should try to ride a wild, black stallion. No one was able, until it was Prince Arjuna's turn. Everyone thought that he was the best horseman among the young men. And in fact, he did get on the horse. But then it threw him off.

It was then Prince Siddhartha's turn. After Arjuna's injury, it would have been reasonable for him to just give up.

But he didn't. He walked up to the horse and spoke softly to it. Then he got on easily and rode the horse anywhere he wished.

So Prince Siddhartha won the competition. Soon he and Yashodara had a royal wedding as beautiful as you can imagine.


  1. Why are the tests in the wedding competition all physical tests? Why would strength and fighting skill be so important?
  2. What do you think Siddhartha might have said to the horse? (Or does it matter?)
  3. Do you think Siddhartha "really" won, or could the competition have been "fixed"?

Next time: Among the Beautiful People

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