Prince Siddhartha Leaves The Palace
His father was still troubled by the sage’s prophecy at his birth, and kept Siddhartha confined to the palace as much as possible to make sure he would become a king. Siddhartha however grew frustrated with life within the walls of the palace and wanted to see more of the outside world.
Suddodhana eventually yielded, and ordered a golden chariot and four white horses to take the prince around. He had also ordered that all sights of unhappiness – age, illness, poverty – all be removed from within the city.
They came across a weak, elderly man as they went out of the city and this shocked Siddhartha – he had never been exposed to that sort of sight and at first didn’t understand that everyone gets old.
On other days when they rode out of the city, he saw others suffering from illness and a funeral procession, all of which made him feel ill. It was overwhelming for the young prince to experience that.
When returning to the palace, he saw a sage meditating and noticed that he looked healthy, calm and peaceful. Channa explained that he had given up a life of pleasure and pain in search of truth.
The images he saw troubled him deeply and he soon decided that he must leave his current life in the search of the ultimate truth, like that saint. So one night, he left the palace and Channa accompanied him.
As soon as they were out of the city, he gave his horse, robes and jewels to Channa and told him to return to the kingdom. He then cut his long hair and swapped the clothes he left with a beggar.
He carried on with his journey and soon he reached the Rajagriha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha.