Apr 16, 2023
Michael Haggiag

10. The Five Disciples


Five friends search for prince Gautama after he flees the palace.



Jizo looks at each one of us across the table.

 “ You know the Buddha had five friends too. They went everywhere together.”          

Jizo tells the Buddha story a bit at a time so it’s difficult to know what happened first. But that’s how the Buddha tells it himself. If something has happened to him, he uses it to teach the Dharma, this universal law he discovered through meditating. Over time these teachings were written down. Then other people came along and strung together all the bits into one story. Even if they didn’t make things up - like the Siddhartha’s horse having a good cry – there would still be holes. The Buddha never set out to tell the story of his life. When today’s celebs get on TV they always give you lots of details about their life. They’re really interested in their own stories, but the Buddha was only ever interested in showing people how to be happy. 

Anyway, when Channa comes back to the palace with the prince’s sword and royal jewels and his horse Kanthaka you can believe the King goes out of his mind. Channa is already pretty upset, so the king doesn’t cut off the man’s head. You have to suppose he already knew his son was going to take off. There’s an old priest at the court called Kondanna.  The moment he saw baby Siddhartha, he figured he was going  to be a great wise man. Kondanna has waited all these years for this piece of news and now he sets out with four younger men, all sons of the court priests, to join Siddhartha. These five will one day be the Buddha’s first disciples, but first they have to track him down.

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