Paragraph 1. A wonderful thing took place at a ploughing festival in his childhood. It was an early spiritual experience which, later in his search for truth, served as a key to his Enlightenment.
Once on a spring ploughing ceremony, the king took the prince to the field and placed him under the shade of a rose apple tree where he was watched by his nurses. Because the king himself took part in the ploughing, the prince looked at his father driving a golden plough together with other nobles. But he also saw the oxen dragging their heavy yokes and many farmers sweating at their work. While the nurses ran away to join the crowd, he was left alone in the quiet. Though he was young in years, he was old in wisdom. He thought so deeply over the sight that he forgot everything around and developed a state of meditation to the great surprise of the nurses and his father.
P 2. The king felt great pride in his son, but all the time he recalled the hermit's prophecy. Then he surrounded him with all pleasures and amusements and young playmates, carefully keeping away from him all knowledge of pain, sadness and death.
P 3. When the prince was sixteen years old, the king arranged for his son's marriage. According to their custom, a prince who desired to get married had to prove his strength and courage. Then the king invited other princes and nobles to meet his son in many contests and Prince Siddhattha won victory in all of them. Among the beautiful ladies who attended the ceremony, he finally chose the fairest one (the country's beauty), his beautiful cousin, as his bride. She was Princess Yasodharaø, daughter of King Suppabuddha, a brother of the late Queen Maøyaø of the Kolyas.
P 4. The king was pleased to see that if his son had home ties, such as a wife and children, he would not leave them and then he would become a great king. The royal couple led a happy life in three palaces built for them: one for the hot season, one for the cold season and one for the rainy season. Around the palaces were parks of flowers, groves with fountains and especially lotus-ponds. For nearly thirteen years, they spent their prime of youth in these palaces, enjoying all worldly pleasures among skillful musicians, attractive dancing girls and a variety of delicious food. But the prince was never allowed to go out to see the world outside; the poor, the sick and the aged were kept away from his sight and no one was allowed to talk anything sad before him.
P 5. As time passed, however, the prince's thoughts returned to the problem of suffering: he had no sorrow of his own, but he felt pity for mankind and he tried to understand the true meaning of human life.
(Adapted from Naørada Mahaøthera)
Dhammapada Verse 171:
Come, behold this world,
It is like a gaudy royal chariot,
In which many fools sink down,
But the wise have no attachment for it.
Dhammapada Verse 336:
He who lives in the world
Overcomes this base craving,
From him sorrows fall away
Like water-drops from a lotus leaf.
I. Pronunciation: word stress and sound columns.
[i:] wheel, field, deep, leave, feel, seùason.
[i] will, fill, live, píty, skíllful, chíldren, wísdom, delícious, musícian, víctory.
[e] sweat, strength, pleùasure, heùavy, deveùlop, espeùcially.
[æ] drag, maùrried, maùrriage, aùpple tree, paùlace, attraùctive, populaùrity.
[a:] plant, dance.
 pond, proùphet, coùntest, proùblem, proùphecy.
 thought, becaùuse, daùughter, recaùll, accoùrding.
[u:] choose, food, youth, prove.
[ju:] muùsic, huùman, amuùsement, beaùutiful.
 young, cuùstom, coùuple, amoùng, suùffering.
[∂:] serve, nurse, retuùrn.
[ei] great, raùiny, aùged.
[ou] own, though, chose, loùtus, noùble.
[ai] tie, pride, bride, surpríse, quíet, fínal(ly).
[au] plough, plow, alloùw, surroùund, foùuntain.
[i∂] year, neaùrly.
 faùirest, caùreful(ly).
[Ѕ] delicious, musician, especially.
II. Vocabulary: words and expressions:
P.1 Serve as s.t = be used as s.t. Coù coâng duïng nhö c.g.
This experience serves as a key to his Enlightenment later: Kinh nghieäm naøy coù coâng duïng nhö chìa khoùa ñöa ñeán giaùc ngoä cuûa Ngaøi sau naøy.
Take part in s.t
= participate in s.t = be involved in s.t: Tham döï vaøo v.g. Goùp phaàn vaøo c.g.
They take part in social activities: Hoï tham gia vaøo nhöõng hoaït ñoäng xaõ hoäi.
Plough the land / the soil:
They ploughed their fields for growing rice: Hoï caøy ruoäng ñeå troàng luùa.
(v) Ñoå moà hoâi moà hoâi: Sweat (n)
We sweat when we work hard. Chuùng ta ñoå moà hoâi khi laøm vieäc nhieàu.
Join the crowd: Gia nhaäp ñaùm ñoâng.
Leave s.o alone: Ñeå ai ngoài moät mình.
(n) (here) = Jhaøna: Thieàn ñònh.
Develop a state of Jhaøna: Phaùt trieån moät traïng thaùi thieàn ñònh.
The first stage of Jhaøna: Giai ñoaïn thieàn I, Sô thieàn.
(n). Leã hoäi. Celebrate a festival: Cöû haønh moät leã hoäi.
P.2 Feel pride in s.o
= be proud of s.o: Caûm thaáy haõnh dieän veà ai.
He felt pride in his son: OÂng ta töï haøo veà con mình.
(n) = foretelling: Lôøi tieân tri. A prophet (n) = a foreteller: Nhaø tieân tri.
P. 3 Arrange for s.t
= make plans for s.t ( a trip / a marriage): Saép xeáp v.g.
A contest = a game, a match: Moät cuoäc thi taøi, tyû thí.
Win a contest / a game:
Thaéng cuoäc thi.
Win / gain victory
(over s.o) = be victorious (over s.o): Thaéng ai.
/ permitted to do s.t: Ñöôïc pheùp laøm gì.
They are allowed to study abroad after graduation: Hoï ñöôïc pheùp ñi du hoïc sau khi toát nghieäp.
Join the crowd: Gia nhaäp ñaùm ñoâng.
Show/ prove one's talent / strength / courage: Chöùng toû taøi naêng / söùc maïnh / can ñaûm.
= above all, in particular: Nhaát laø, ñaëc bieät laø.
We are interested in learning the Triple Canon (the Three Baskets), especially the Basket of Discourses (Sutta Pitaka): Ta quan taâm ñeán vieäc hoïc Tam Taïng Thaùnh ñieån, ñaëc bieät laø Kinh Taïng.
Return to the problem of suffering: Trôû veà vôùi vaán ñeà khoå ñau.
P.4 Get married
/ be married: Keát hoân.
marriage (n), married life: Hoân nhaân, cuoäc soáng gia ñình.
The royal couple led a happy married life. = They enjoyed a happy marriage: Ñoâi vôï choàng vöông giaû höôûng cuoäc soáng gia ñình haïnh phuùc.
Marry s.o = take s.o as a wife / husband: Cöôùi ai (laøm vôï /choàng).
Spend one's prime of youth: Soáng thôøi hoa nieân.
Surround s.o/ s.t with s.t: Vaây quanh ai / c.g. vôùi c.g.
They surround their house with a fence/bamboo trees: Hoï vaây quanh nhaø baèng haøng raøo/ buïi tre.
The king surrounded the prince with worldly pleasures: Vua cha vaây quanh Thaùi töû vôùi nhöõng duïc laïc theá gian.
A variety of s.t = Different kinds / Various kinds of s.t (books, flowers): Nhieàu loaïi khaùc nhau. (saùch, hoa).
We enjoy reading a variety of books on the Buddha's Great Compassion: Chuùng ta thích ñoïc nhieàu loaïi saùch veà loøng Ñaïi Bi cuûa ñöùc Phaät.
P.5 Feel pity for s.o / s.t. = feel sorrow for s.o's suffering= have / take pity on s.o: Thaáy thöông xoùt veà noãi khoå cuûa ai.
They feel pity for the sick: Hoï thaáy thöông xoùt nhöõng ngöôøi beänh.
The true meaning of human life: YÙ nghóa thaät cuûa ñôøi ngöôøi.
III. Comprehension Questions
P1. 1. What took place at a ploughing festival in his childhood?
2. How did it serve him later?
3. Where did the king take the prince then?
4. Where was he seated?
5. What was the king doing then?
6. What did the prince see on the field?
7. Why was the prince left alone?
8. What did the prince do then?
9. Was the king surprised to see his son then?
P2. 10. What did the King do when he recalled the sage's prophecy?
11. What did he keep away from his son?
P3. 12. When did the king arrange for his son's marriage?
13. How old was the prince when he got married?
14. What did the prince have to do before his marriage?
15. Who did the king invite to meet his son?
16. Was the prince victorious in all contests ?
17. Who(m) did he choose as his bride ?
18. Who was the bride ?
P4. 19. Why was the father pleased then?
20. Did the royal couple lead a happy life?
21. Where did they live?
22. What were the palaces surrounded with?
23. How did the married couple spend their youth?
24. Was the prince allowed to go outside the palaces?
P5. 25. Who were kept away from his sight?
26. Did anyone say sad things such as pain or death before him?
27. What problems did the prince think of as time went by?
28. Did he have any sorrow for himself?
29. Who did he feel pity for?
What did he try to understand?
ANSWERS (Lesson 3)
PRINCE SIDDHATTHA'S YOUTH
and HIS MARRIED LIFE
A wonderful thing took place then.
It served him as a key to his Enlightenment later.
He took the prince to the field then.
He was seated under the shade of a rose apple tree.
He was driving a golden plough together with other nobles then.
He saw oxen dragging their heavy yokes and farmers sweating at their work.
He was left alone because his nurses ran away to join the crowd.
He thought very deeply over the sight and then he developed a state of meditation.
Yes, he was. He was surprised to see his son then.
When he recalled the sage's prophecy, he surrounded the prince with all pleasures and young playmates.
He kept away all sights of pain, sadness and death.
When the prince was sixteen years old, the king arranged for his son's marriage.
He got married at the age of sixteen.
He had to prove his strength and courage before his marriage.
He invited many other princes and nobles to meet his son in many contests.
Yes, he was. He was victorious in all the contests.
He chose the fairest one among the beautiful ladies who attended the ceremony, his cousin, as his bride.
She was Princess Yasodharaø, daughter of King Suppabuddha.
He was pleased because he saw that if his son had home ties such as a wife and children, he would not leave them and then he would become a great king.
Yes, they did. They led a happy life.
They lived in three palaces built for them; one for the hot season; one for the cold season and one for the rainy season.
They were surrounded with parks of flowers, groves, fountains and especially lotus ponds.
They spent their youth in these palaces, enjoying all worldly pleasures among skillful musicians, attractive dancing girls and delicious food.
No, he wasn't. He was never allowed to go outside the palaces.
The poor, the sick, the aged were kept away from his sight.
No, no one did. No one said such sad things before him.
As time went by, he thought of the problems of human suffering.
No, he didn't. He didn't have any sorrow for himself.
He felt pity for mankind.
He tried to understand the true meaning of human life.
IV. Translation into Vietnamese:
THÔØI NIEÂN THIEÁU VAØ CUOÄC SOÁNG GIA ÑÌNH CUÛA THAÙI TÖÛ SIDDHATTHA.
Ñoaïn 1. Moät ñieàu kyø dieäu ñaõ xaûy ra trong buoåi leã haï ñieàn vaøo thôøi thô aáu cuûa thaùi töû. Ñoù laø kinh nghieäm taâm linh ñaàu ñôøi, sau naøy trong quaù trình tìm caàu chaân lyù, noù coù coâng duïng nhö chieác chìa khoùa ñöa Ngaøi ñaït ñeán giaùc ngoä.
Moät laàn nhaân ngaøy leã haï ñieàn, nhaø vua daãn thaùi töû ra ñoàng vaø ñaët thaùi töû ngoài döôùi goác caây ñaøo (1), nôi aáy thaùi töû ñöôïc caùc nhuõ maãu chaêm soùc. Bôûi vì chính nhaø vua tham gia vaøo vieäc caøy caáy, neân thaùi töû thaáy phuï vöông ñang laùi chieác caøy baèng vaøng cuøng vôùi quaàn thaàn. Song thaùi töû cuõng thaáy nhöõng con boø ñang keùo leâ nhöõng chieác aùch naëng neà vaø caùc noâng phu ñang nheã nhaïi moà hoâi vôùi coâng vieäc. Trong khi caùc nhuõ maãu chaïy ra ngoaøi nhaäp vaøo ñaùm hoäi, chæ coøn laïi moät mình thaùi töû trong caûnh yeân laëng. Maëc duø coøn treû tuoåi, trí khoân cuûa thaùi töû ñaõ tröôûng thaønh. Thaùi töû suy tö raát saâu saéc veà caûnh töôïng treân ñeán ñoä queân heát vaïn vaät xung quanh vaø phaùt trieån moät traïng thaùi thieàn ñònh tröôùc söï kinh ngaïc cuûa caùc nhuõ maãu vaø phuï vöông.
Ñoaïn 2. Nhaø vua raát töï haøo veà con ngaøi, song luùc naøo ngaøi cuõng nhôù ñeán lôøi tieân ñoaùn cuûa vò aån só. Ngaøi bao vaây quanh thaùi töû baèng ñuû (taát caû) laïc thuù vaø ñaùm baïn treû cuøng vui chôi, caån thaän traùnh cho thaùi töû khoâng bieát gì veà söï ñau khoå, buoàn phieàn vaø cheát choùc.
Ñoaïn 3. Khi thaùi töû ñöôïc möôøi saùu tuoåi, phuï vöông saép xeáp vieäc hoân nhaân cho con ngaøi. . . Theo phong tuïc thôøi baáy giôø, moät vöông töû muoán cöôùi vôï phaûi chöùng toû söùc maïnh vaø loøng can ñaûm cuûa mình. Sau ñoù, nhaø vua cho môøi caùc vöông toân coâng töû ñeán tyû thívaø thaùi töû Siddhattha ñaõ chieán thaéng trong taát caû caùc cuoäc so taøi. Giöõa ñaùm caùc coâng nöông dieãm kieàu ñeán döï leã hoäi, cuoái cuøng thaùi töû choïn moät trang quoác saéc, coâ em hoï xinh ñeïp, laøm taân nöông. Ñoù laø coâng chuùa Yasodharaø, con gaùi vua Suppabuddha (Thieän Giaùc), vöông huynh cuûa hoaøng haäu quaù coá Maøyaø thuoäc doøng hoï Kolyas.
Ñoaïn 4. Nhaø vua haøi loøng thaáy raèng neáu thaùi töû coù nhöõng moái daây raøng buoäc gia ñình nhö vôï con thì thaùi töû seõ khoâng rôøi boû hoï ñöôïc vaø sau ñoù thaùi töû trôû thaønh moät baäc Ñaïi vöông. Ñoâi vôï choàng vöông giaû soáng moät cuoäc ñôøi haïnh phuùc trong ba cung ñieän daønh rieâng cho hai vò: moät cung ñieän cho muøa noùng, moät cung ñieän cho muøa laïnh vaø moät cung ñieän cho muøa möa.
Xung quanh caùc cung ñieän coù vöôøn hoa, nhöõng luøm caây, suoái nöôùc, ñaëc bieät laø caùc hoà sen. Gaàn möôøi ba naêm, hai vò traûi qua thôøi hoa nieân trong nhöõng cung ñieän naøy, taän höôûng laïc thuù traàn gian giöõa ñaùm nhaïc coâng taøi hoa, caùc vuõ nöõ ñaày quyeán ruõ vaø thöôûng thöùc moïi cao löông myõ vò, nhöng thaùi töû khoâng ñöôïc pheùp tieáp xuùc vôùi cuoäc soáng beân ngoaøi. Ñaùm ngöôøi ngheøo, ngöôøi beänh, ngöôøi giaø ñöôïc ñem ñi xa khoûi taàm maét cuûa thaùi töû vaø khoâng moät ai ñöôïc pheùp keå chuyeän gì buoàn tröôùc thaùi töû.
Ñoaïn 5. Tuy nhieân, thôøi gian troâi qua, noãi suy tö cuûa thaùi töû laïi trôû veà vaán ñeà ñau khoå. Thaùi töû khoâng coù gì buoàn khoå rieâng phaàn chaøng, nhöng chaøng caûm thaáy xoùt thöông cho nhaân loaïi vaø chaøng coá gaéng tìm hieåu yù nghóa chaân thaät cuûa ñôøi ngöôøi.
(Phoûng theo Narada Mahaøthera)
Phaùp cuù 171.
Ñeán nhìn coõi ñôøi naøy,
Nhö vöông xa röïc rôõ,
Bao keû ngu chìm ñaém,
Ngöôøi trí chaúng meâ say.
Phaùp cuù 336.
Ai soáng ôû treân ñôøi
Nhieáp phuïc aùi thaáp heøn,
Saàu ruïng, rôøi keû aáy
Nhö nöôùc khoûi laù sen.