The Buddha's Father
The Buddha's name became famous over all India and Suddhodana,
his father, sent word to him saying: "I am growing old and wish
to see my son before I die. Others have had the benefit of his
doctrine, but not his father nor his relatives."
And the messenger said: "O world-honored Tathagata, thy father
looks for thy coming as the lily longs for the rising of the
The Blessed One consented to the request of his father and set
out on his journey to Kapilavatthu. Soon the tidings spread in
the native country of the Buddha: "Prince Siddhattha, who
wandered forth from home into homelessness to obtain
enlightenment, having attained his purpose, is coming back."
Suddhodana went out with his relatives and ministers to meet the
prince. When the king saw Siddhattha, his son, from afar, he was
struck with his beauty and dignity, and he rejoiced in his heart,
but his mouth found no words to utter.
This, indeed, was his son; these were the features of Siddhattha.
How near was the great samana to his heart, and yet what a
distance lay between them! That noble muni was no longer
Siddhattha, his son; he was the Buddha, the Blessed One, the
Holy One, Lord of truth, and teacher of mankind.
Suddhodana the king, considering the religious dignity of his
son, descended from his chariot and after saluting his son said:
"It is now seven years since I have seen thee. How I have longed
for this moment!"
Then the Sakyamuni took a seat opposite his father, and the king
gazed eagerly at his son. He longed to call him by his name, but
he dared not. "Siddhattha," he exclaimed silently in his heart,
"Siddhattha, come back to thine aged father and be his son
again!" But seeing the determination of his son, he suppressed
his sentiments, and desolation overcame him.
Thus the king sat face to face with his son, rejoicing in his
sadness and sad in his rejoicing. Well might he be proud of his
son, but his pride broke down at the idea that his great son
would never be his heir.
"I would offer thee my kingdom," said the king, "but if I did,
thou wouldst account it but as ashes."
And the Buddha said: "I know that the king's heart is full of
love and that for his son's sake he feels deep grief. But let the
ties of love that bind him to the son whom he lost embrace with
equal kindness all his fellow-beings, and he will receive in his
place a greater one than Siddhattha; he will receive the Buddha,
the teacher of truth, the preacher of righteousness, and the
peace of Nirvana will enter into his heart."
Suddhodana trembled with joy when he heard the melodious words of
his son, the Buddha, and clasping his hands, exclaimed with tears
in his eyes: "Wonderful is this change! The overwhelming sorrow
has passed away. At first my sorrowing heart was heavy, but now I
reap the fruit of thy great renunciation. It was right that,
moved by thy mighty sympathy, thou shouldst reject the pleasures
of royal power and achieve thy noble purpose in religious
devotion. Now that thou hast found the path, thou canst preach
the law of immortality to all the world that yearns for
The king returned to the palace, while the Buddha remained in the
grove before the city.
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