8.The Second Journey
The King heard about his son's unhappy mood and wondered what could havegone wrong. "He needs more variety," the King thought. "I'll plan anothertrip for him, but this time to an even more beautiful section of the city."
And so Channa prepared Kantaka again, and again they rode out into Kapilavastu.The streets were decorated as before, and the people were again happy tosee their Prince. But this time, seen only by Siddhartha and his charioteer,a vision of a sick person appeared in the crowd of laughing people.
"Look, Channa," the Prince called out. "Who is that man who coughs so violently,who shakes his body and cries so pitifully?"
"That is a sick person, O Prince."
"Why is he sick?" he asked.
"People become sick for many reasons, Sire. Perhaps he ate some bad foodor let himself become too cold. Now his body is out of balance and he feelsfeverish."
"Do even happy people like those in the crowd ever become sick?"
"Oh, yes," answered the charioteer. "A person might be
healthyone day and sick the next. No one is safe from
For the second time the Prince was deeply shocked. "I cannot understand,"he said, "how people can be so carefree and happy knowing that sicknessmight strike them at any time. Please, turn back the chariot. I have seenmore than enough for one day."
When he returned to the palace the Prince was even more unhappy than before.Nothing anyone did could make him smile, and he did not want to speak toanyone. When the King found out about his son's unhappiness he became veryworried and confused. "I have tried everything to make my son happy, butlately his heart is filled with gloom. I must ask my ministers what I cando to brighten my son's spirits."
They suggested that the next time the Prince wanted to leave the palacegrounds, he should not go alone. Rather, he should be accompanied by singers,dancers and nobles from the court. And they should plan to visit a speciallyprepared garden where the Prince could be amused and distracted by allsorts of entertainment.