dyanaprajna2011 wrote:This is something I've always wondered about, and have been questioned by others wanting to know the how and why. When Siddhartha left his wife and child, was this an act of selfishness, or compassion? Did he know, when he left them, that he would succeed at his goal?
And another question: does this give people an excuse to leave their families behind, say, in order to join a monastery?
The Buddha himself was questioned about this. According to one tradition, at least, his answer lies at the heart of the Vessantara Jataka, a little verse:
“Both Jāli and Kaṇhājinā I let another take,
And Maddī my devoted wife, and all for wisdom's sake.
“Not hateful is my faithful wife, nor yet my children are,
But perfect knowledge, to my mind, is something dearer far.”