Brief notes on Buddhist thought and practice
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King Bimbasara

Prince Siddhartha, now a mendicant, turned his steps to the south. He reached the country of Maghada, and the capital city of Rajagaha. Here he continued to beg for alms.

It wasn't long before Bimbasara, the king of Maghada, heard about this unusual "beggar." Around the same time, the king had also heard that Prince Siddhartha, of the Shakya clan, had left home to become a monk. So the king sent one of his own sons to ask this monk who he was.

When Bimbasara's son returned with news that this extraordinary mendicant was indeed Prince Siddhartha, King Bimbasara was so amazed that he decided to go meet Prince Siddhartha for himself.

King Bimbasara asked him if he were in fact Siddhartha, the prince and heir of Kapilavastu. Siddhartha affirmed that yes, that had been his role, but now he was just a seeker. Bimbasara then asked him what it was he was seeking, and he replied that he sought a way for all people to escape the effects of old age, sickness, and death.

Bimbasara, thinking this was extraordinary, offered him a place to stay in Bimbasara's own palace. The former prince replied that the answer was not in palaces, or he would have found it already. He needed to practice austerities in order to find the truth.

The king accepted this, but made Siddhartha promise that, if he found the truth, he would return and teach it to Bimbasara and his people. He agreed.

And so the ascetic Gautama continued out of the city.

  1. What are you seeking?
  2. Can the truth be found in palaces? Must one practice austerities in order to find the truth?
  3. Do you find it unusual that a king would ask a monk to come back and teach him and his people?
Next time: The Sacrifice

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