Śuddhodana


Śuddhodana

King Suddhodana (Sanskrit: Śuddhodana) was the father of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. He was a leader of the Shakya people, who lived in southern Nepal. Suddhodhana's father was Sinahana. Suddhodhana was married to princesses Mayadevi and Prajapati of Devadaha Kingdom located in southern Nepal on the bank of the river Anoma.

It was prophesied that Siddhartha would become a great chakravartin or universal monarch. However, if he saw four signs, an old man, a sick man, a corpse and a monk, he would instead become a great sage. After hearing this, Suddhodana tried to keep Siddhartha shielded from the outside world so that he would never see the four signs, and become a powerful ruler instead. However, his plan did not succeed and Siddhartha became a sage, leaving luxurious palace life for a humble journey in the search of truth.

According to legend, Suddhodana lamented his son's departure and spent considerable effort attempting to locate him. Years later, after word of Siddhartha's enlightenment reached Suddhodana, he sent a messenger with 10,000 companions to invite Siddhartha back to the Shakya land. The Buddha proceeded to preach to the messenger and all 10,000 companions who in turn decided to join the Sangha and never return. Suddhodana then sent a close friend of Siddhartha's, Kaludayi, to invite him to return. Kaludyi also chose to become a monk, but kept his word to invite the Buddha back to his homeland. The Buddha accepted his father's invitation and returned to visit his homeland. During this visit, he preached the Dhamma to Suddhodana.

Many years later, when the Buddha heard of Suddhodana's impending death, he once again returned to his homeland and preached further to Suddhodana as he lay on his deathbed. King Suddhodana attained Arhantship.


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