[Buddha-l] Another One Bites the Dust

Kate Marshall marshallarts at bigpond.com
Mon Mar 4 20:12:58 MST 2013

> I believe the Buddha is a fictional character-or to put it more
accurately, I believe that most of the stories that have come down to us are
highly fictionalized accounts of someone who may have almost existed...

I agree. It seems that just about every significant event in the tale of the
Buddha's birth and early years is fictional, or, at least, mythical or
symbolic. Leaving aside the unusual nature of Siddhartha's conception and
birth, the appearance of a star, the wise sage/s, the prophesies, and so on,
which all appear to be expected stock standards of any birth story of a
major religious leader of the time, and the more obvious symbolic incidences
such as the new born Siddhartha taking lotus steps, making declarations with
the Lion's Roar, and, as a young man, leaving the palace by the four gates,
there is one quirky observation I'd like to make.

The stories concerning the early part of Siddhartha's life have strong
parallels with the fairy tale, 'Sleeping Beauty.'

In both stories, we have a child born to royalty who, shortly after birth,
is visited by magical beings (sages or fairies depending on which story we
are looking at). Based on something said by these visitors, the father in
each case bans something from the palace and confines the child to the
palace. In Siddhartha's case, all sights of old age, sickness, etc are
banned, while with Sleeping Beauty it's all the spinning spindles in the
kingdom. Each child grows up clueless in this regard. Yet despite all the
father's diligent efforts over the years, the child now grown is at last
exposed to that which the father is trying so hard to hide, resulting in the
very outcome which the father was endeavouring to prevent.

While Sleeping Beauty/Buddha sleeps, the whole kingdom sleeps. It's not
until Sleeping Beauty/Buddha wakes up that others begin to stir. The main
difference between the two stories at this point is that the Buddha awakens
through his own internal efforts while Sleeping Beauty has to rely on an
external male third party (the Prince). Yet, even this is in line with early
Buddhist teachings which state that a woman shouldn't hear the teachings of
the Buddha unless there is an intelligent man present to explain them to

As mentioned, it's just a quirky observation.


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