The Story of Siddhartha
Like Jesus and Mohammed, the Buddha is a historical figure around whom a religion arose. The following story of his life is commonly told.
About 2,600 years ago, the ruler of a small Indian state fathered
a son whom he named Siddhartha Gautama. At his birth, it was
prophesied that Prince Siddhartha would grow up to be either a
great king or a great spiritual leader. Siddhartha's father was
clear about his own desires: He wanted his son to be a great king.
To this end, the king had his son brought up with definite restrictions. Siddhartha was to be trained in the warrior and governing arts. He was not to receive religious teachings or to know the hardships of life. The father even feared the effects upon Siddhartha of the poverty and misery that might be seen in the surrounding towns. Therefore, he restricted him to the palace grounds. Until he grew to adulthood, Siddhartha did not regard this as confinement, for the grounds extended for miles and included beautiful parks and streams. The most pleasurable entertainments and the friendship of noble children were all his, and he held the status as the king's heir. He thus flourished within these golden walls. When Siddhartha was a young man, his father at-