5.The Pleasure Palaces
Soon afterwards, Prince Siddhartha and Princess Yasodhara were married.The King wanted to be certain that his son would never desire to leavethe kingdom, so he ordered not one but three magnificent places to be builtfor the new couple. "Make them as beautiful as possible," he told the chiefbuilder. "I want them to be so magnificent that the people entering themwill think they are in heaven.
"I want one to be a summer palace, made of cool marble and surrounded byrefreshing pools and fountains. The second will be the winter palace, warmand comfortable. And the third will be for the rainy season. Place thesepalaces in the middle of a large park, with beautiful scenery in everydirection. And surround the park with a large wall, so that nothing upleasantfrom the outside world can ever get in. Everything is to be so perfectthat Prince Siddhartha will never be tempted to leave."
The King did everything possible to make these new homes attractive tothe Prince. He had the most skilled musicians in his kingdom play therethroughout the day and into the night. All the servants were beautifulyoung dancing girls, and the chefs in the kitchen were instructed to wervea never-ending variety of delicious food.
Nothing was allowed into the palaces that might disturb the Prince's mindand make him want to leave.
And so for many years Prince Siddhartha lived in these heavenly surroundings.From morning to night he was entertained in a thousand ways. He never sawanything that was not beautiful, nor ever heard any sound that was notsweet and pleasant. For instance, if one of the servant girls became ill,she was removed from the palace and not allowed to return until she wasbetter again. In this way the Prince never saw sickness or anything thatmight disturb his gentle mind. The King ordered that no one speaking tothe Prince should ever mention anything sad or depressing. And even ifone of the plants in the garden began to droop or wilt, it was immediatelysnipped off by a special gardener. Thus the Prince never even saw a fadedor dying flower! In all these ways, then, he was kept ignorant of the sufferingand unpleasantness in the world.