Gautam Buddha said, “You don’t understand the point. I have not fought with my father, I have not been angry with him, and I have not come here in search of a girl. I am not interested in a kingdom, howsoever big it is. But I would like to ask you a few questions; you are my father’s friend. First tell me, you say your girl is very beautiful – is this beauty going to remain forever? Will she not one day be old?”
The king said, “You ask strange questions. Everybody becomes old.”
“And do you think,” Gautam Buddha asked, “she will never die?” The king laughed. He said, “You are hilarious. Everybody dies.”
Gautam Buddha said, “I don’t want to get married with someone who is going to die.”
The king said, “She is not going to die tomorrow.”
Gautam Buddha said, “You cannot give any guarantee. Are you sure you will be alive tomorrow?”
The king said, “I have never thought about it. I hope that I will be alive, but I cannot be certain. But you are creating anxieties in my mind. I had come to take you to the palace and it seems you are trying to convince me to follow you to the mountains.”
Gautam Buddha said, “It is better – there is still time, it is still light; maybe you have a few days more to live. Devote these few days to a search for something which cannot be taken away from you. Your youth will disappear, your beauty will disappear, your kingdom will one day belong to somebody else. And what does it matter, when you are dead, to whom your kingdom belongs, whether he is your son or somebody else’s son?”
The king said, “You are a dangerous fellow. I don’t want to talk to you.”
He informed Gautam Buddha’s father, “I have met your son; he is in the mountains in my kingdom. I tried hard, but he is very convincing. And he has created such anxiety in me that I have not slept since. I am continuously thinking of death – what is going to happen after death? What have I gained by having this big kingdom? I am a poor man inside. I have never looked into my own being; I am not even acquainted with myself. I request to you: don’t try to prevent him, let him go and let him search. What we have missed, perhaps we can hope he will find it.”
Gautam Buddha could sit silently, desireless, thoughtless, moving inwards, because the outside had lost all interest. He had seen it – that it is just a phenomenon, the way you see a film. But there are idiots who even seeing a film will cry, will weep, will laugh, because they will become identified and they will forget that there is nothing on the screen, it is just a projected film. Our whole life is not much more than that, but to know it you have to go through it. Gautam Buddha had a great chance to experience life and see its futility. This gave him the opportunity to sit in deep silence, undisturbed.
Vipassana was discovered in these moments.