(4) PRINCE SIDDHARTA'S RESOLUTION

Prince Siddharta headed east to the land of Ran. He shaved his head and became an ascetic. He shed his royal clothes and had his servant take them and his horse to his father. Later, he went to the land of Bishari, near Osha Castle, looking for the famous hermits Bakka, Arara and Uddara. He was hoping they would be able to guide him to the true path to salvation. However, he was only frustrated. Thus, Siddharta resolved to search for enlightenment by himself without following any master. He settled on the east bank of the Nirezen River between Mt. Gayashirija and Kugyorin and began his practices as a mendicant.

Meanwhile, people of the Kapila Castle were shocked and saddened when they heard that the prince had left the castle. King Jobon gathered his ministers and asked them if they had any idea where his son had gone. No one knew. A soldier named Kyotinyo volunteered to search for the prince. The king ordered four more soldiers to join him in the search. The search party tracked him to the hermit Bakka. However, when they arrived there, the prince had gone. They continued to follow the prince's trail. When they finally found him, he was doing practices under a tree. Kyotinyo fervently told the prince, "Prince, I've heard that in this world there are four reasons why a man becomes an ascetic: He chooses to be an ascetic because of some kind of disease that doesn't enable him to enjoy the pleasures of this life; he becomes an ascetic after getting old and losing all hope; he decides to be an ascetic after losing fortune and becoming unable to live with himself; or he becomes an ascetic when he loses a loved one and is unable to find happiness in this world. However, prince, none of these applies to you. Your Highness is young, healthy, rich and no one in your family has died. Why has Your Highness abandoned the joy of youth and become a mendicant searching for enlightenment in such a faraway place? We don't understand at all. We cannot even guess what is going on in Your Highness' mind. Even a hermit that lives apart from the pleasures of life has attachment...." In tears, Kyotinyo tried to convince the prince to give up his intention of becoming an ascetic, by telling him how King Jobon and his wife, Princess Yashodara, were worried and saddened by his absence. However, the prince's resolution did not waver.

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