Buddhism (Religions of the World) by Leslie D. Alldritt

By Leslie D. Alldritt

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By Leslie D. Alldritt

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Sample text

7 The prince, learning that he too would grow old, was shaken, and decided to forego the anticipated pleasantness of the park and return at once to the protection of the castle. The castle did provide physical protection for the prince but his mind was no longer protected, and he began to think deeply about the idea of aging, which troubled his thoughts. But he shared his unease with no one. Soon he decided to travel once again from the castle and asked his father for permission to visit the park he failed to reach.

Why should I complain and see my life as suffering? A Buddhist may answer that this is true for you. You may be a fortunate person who, for the most part, is able to minimize or forestall suffering in your life. However, Buddhism would go on to suggest that your peaceful life might not be absent of suffering after all. For one thing, as Prince Gautama realized, sickness, old age, and death lie in wait for all of us and all those we know. Though one may enjoy youth, wellness, and life for now, this will not last.

At twenty-nine years of age, the prince stepped into his chariot with his charioteer and embarked on a trip that would change the world forever. As Prince Siddhartha was traveling on the road, he encountered an old man who piqued his interest. Due to his father’s protection, he had never seen a person slowed by extreme age. Siddhartha asked Chandaka, his charioteer, to explain the man’s Foundations condition. Chandaka replied, “Old age, it is called, the destroyer of beauty and vigor, the source of sorrow, the depriver of pleasures, the slayer of memories, the enemy of sense organs.

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