(3) THE PRINCE ABANDONS THE CASTLE

King Jobon's worries never ceased. No matter what he did, the prince never seemed to be happy. To please the prince, he built the famous palaces of the four seasons. Each place was built to match a season. In each one, five hundred beautiful women were hired to sing, dance, and entertain the prince. However, Siddharta had already seen and understood the impermanence of the world. He knew that the splendor and luxury of this world were nothing other than the cause of suffering; they would never bring him true happiness. His anguish continued, day in and day out.

One night, Siddharta awoke from his sleep. He looked around and was shocked. The five hundred women, beautifully adorned in the daytime, were shocking to look at as they slept. This horrible scene made Siddharta shiver because he knew that the image of those women was nothing more than the true image of all human beings. He couldn't stay there any longer. The moment for him to rid himself from worldly attachment had come. Like a leper fears his disease, the prince feared his secular attachments. In the middle of the night, he called his servant Shanoku, mounted his white horse Kenjoku, and secretly left the castle. It was February 8th; Siddharta Gautama was 29 years old.

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