Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Friday, December 23, 2005

Gautama Buddha's personality (4) Leaving the family life

After worrying a long time, Gautama Buddha decided to leave his family life to become a religious monk. The leaving of family life suggests that a man or a woman becomes a monk, or a nun, for pursuing a religious truth. I suppose that Gautama Buddha had worried so much whether it is too immoral for him to leave his family without supporting them. But it was impossible for him to stop pursuing the Truth, which was his own dream for so long: to save human beings in the world through finding and sharing the real Truth of the world. Then, when he was 29 years old, one night he ordered his servant, called Channa, to bring a white horse to a garden in the castle, and Gautama Buddha left the castle secretly without anything said to his family. The servant Channa followed Gautama Bhuddha to a forest called Anupiya, but Gautama Buddha ordered Channa to go back to Gautama Buddha's parents, taking with him Gautama Buddha's gorgeous clothes as an article left by the departed. And Gautama Buddha went ahead for his research of the Truth.

9 Comments:

Blogger Lone Wolf said...

That would be a ruff decision to leave your loved ones. But I always thought Buddha knew that his family members would suffer and die also. Which propelled him to go find the truth so he could not only help his family but the whole world. It is a bigger quest then just living life supporting his family.

3:56 PM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger SmoggyRob said...

Hello everyone:

This part of Buddha's story used to bother me, in two ways.

First, it seemed cold to leave one's family. And second, I wasn't going to be leaving mine (so how was I going to be able to follow him?). I've since stopped caring.

On his leaving his family, it did lead to his finding the Big T Truth -- and it's just a story. A phrase I picked up on this blog (and liked) is: what possible effect could that have on my practice?

And as for following the Buddha's path, well, he lived then and I live now. I'm pretty sure that if the Buddha had come these days, he'd have a job. Maybe at a cosmetics company, or something in entertainment.

Thank you again, Master Nishijima, I appreciate your effort.

Rob Robbins

4:38 PM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger reallynotimportant said...

Interesting! I just read it as written. He left his family to seek the truth. I don't know what he was thinking.

I'm not personally looking to walk in Buddha's footsteps, instead I'm looking to walk where he walked.
I am not Buddha and this is 2005.

5:53 PM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Marc WALUS (Paris) said...

maybe nowdays, we would talk about leaving our images, our conditionning, our allready given words... (sorry for my english)..

6:02 PM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger oxeye said...

The story might point to the fact that having a family and living a life in search of an ultimate truth are mutually exclusive callings. I mean who can get in any quality pondering with a nagging wife and screaming kids around? Another problem is a loving wife can be a pretty enjoyable thing to have. You can get very attached to that kind of comfort.

12:03 AM, December 24, 2005  
Blogger household goddess said...

Ha ha oxeye, very amusing.

On the other hand, if you were serious there, isn't it a bit old hat to say a wife is either a nag-bag or a distraction?

Maybe Gautama left his wife and child because he hadn't at that point been sitting long enough to know any better?

2:47 AM, December 24, 2005  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

If Buddha would not have left his family then we wouldn't be able to practice the truth now based on his teaching while staying with are family. It's fine to practice Buddhism with a family. Some people may find it's suites them to practice like a monk. No Problem.

3:12 AM, December 24, 2005  
Blogger Friend said...

Check out Dipa Ma. She got real far (not so long ago) while living the householder life and raising her daughter.

http://www.dipama.org

5:12 AM, December 24, 2005  
Blogger Virtual Ain't Reality said...

Dipa Ma was a WOMAN, though. Apparently, us fellas find it impossible to practice with a "nagging wife and screaming kids," or else we do like a certain un-named blogger and try to forget we even have a wife so we can sit zazen and blog all day. (And notice how all the posts so far posit a theoretical wife and kids -- do we not assume, then, we're just as great a burden on them? Or do we figure that having a smelly husband farting all over the living room is somehow an offering of incense to our wives' enlightenment?)

Getting too hung up on Shakyamuni's homeleaving one way or the other is more often than not an excuse: oh, if only my life were different, I would practice more. No, you wouldn't. (Someone once said to Ajahn Chah, I have no time to practice, and he replied, Well do you have time to breathe?) If only I were a real monk, all this zazen I'm always talking about would've smoothed out my anger and bitterness. No, it wouldn't have.

Enlightenment somewhere outside of our lives as we live them is just another ideal that prevents us from living. Straight up delusion.

Anyway, today is Christmas in some parts of the world. Merry Christmas, y'all.

2:04 AM, December 26, 2005  

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