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The Prince Who Walked Out of His Fairy Tale

Samira Ahmed looks at the life of Siddhartha, the prince who exchanged his comfortable life for a troubled journey of self-discovery. His goal was to become the Buddha.

Siddhartha is the name of a prince who became the Buddha.

He was born in present day Nepal, sometime around 563 BC, and he grew up as a prince enjoying a comfortable existence for the first 29 years of his life. It was then, as a married man with an infant son, Siddhartha abandoned his palace and set off for a wandering life with a band of ascetics seeking spiritual fulfilment.

In 'The Prince who walked out of his fairytale' Samira Ahmed pieces together the story of Siddhartha - the Sanskrit name meaning 'He who achieves his goal'. She tells the story of how Siddhartha abandoned future kingship after the shocking discovery of old age, sickness and death. She tells of how he took up and then discarded extreme asceticism and how, after six years of penance, he sat unmoving under a tree until he gained Nirvana or perfect enlightenment and became known as the Buddha.

Samira Ahmed looks at the appeal of the image of the seated Buddha and the spread of Buddhist ideas into the West. She considers how writers and thinkers have imagined the experience of enlightenment, and explores how others have interpreted the relevance of the Buddha's key ideas for today's fast moving materialistic life. With readings, poetry and music - including Tibetan chant, Herbie Hancock, Bengali film soundtrack, and Wagner.

Producer: Anthony Denselow
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 31 Aug 2014 23:30

Music Played

  • Hariprasad Chaurasia

    Jod and Jhaala with Pakhawaj

    • Times Music India.
  • Hemanta Mukhapadhyay

    O Nadire Ekti Kotha

    • from the soundtrack to the 1972 film version of ‘Siddhartha’..
  • Lama Gyurmé & Jean-Philippe Rykiel

    Offering Chant

    • Rain of Blessings.
    • Real World Records.
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto

    Acceptance

    • Little Buddha.
    • Milan Spi.
  • Herbie Hancock

    Toys

    • Speak Like a Child.
    • Decca (UMO).
  • Philip Glass

    Love and Joy

    Performer: Ana Maria Martinez. Performer: Denyce Graves. Performer: Michael Schade. Performer: Eric Owens. Performer: Albert Dohmen.
    • Symphony no 5.
    • Nonesuch.
  • Ronald Corp

    Dhammapada

    Performer: Apsara Choir.
    • Stone Records.
  • Richard Wagner

    Act 1 Prelude

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • Parsifal.
    • Decca.
  • Trad.

    Tsuru No Sugomori

    Performer: Kohachiro Miyata.
    • Shakuhaiki – The Japanese Flute.
    • Nonesuch.

Readings

Title: Poem ‘The Garden Buddha’ in ‘What’s Written on the Body’

Author: Peter Pereira

Publisher: Copper Canyon Press

ISBN: 978-1556592522

 

Title: ‘Inner Revolution ’

Author: Robert Thurman

Publisher: Rider Books.

ISBN: 0-7126-7056-4

 

Title: ‘Buddhism ’

Author:  Donald S. Lopez Jr

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN:  0-713-99434-7

 

Title: Poem ‘The Life of the Buddha according to the Pali Canon’

Author: Bhikku Nanamoli

Publisher: Buddhist Publication Society

ISBN:  955-24-0063-52

 

Title: Poem ‘Enlightenment is like the moon’

Author: Dogen (13th Century Japanese Priest)

 

Title: ‘Buddha’

Author: Karen Armstrong

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, The Orion Publishing Group

ISBN: 0-297-64347-9

 

Title: ‘Siddhartha’

Author: Hermann Hesse (translated by Hilda Rosner)

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

ISBN:  978-0-141-18957-4

 

Title: ‘Wake Up: The Life of the Buddha’

Author: Jack Kerouac

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

ISBN: 978-0-141-18946-8

 

Title: ‘Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening’

Author: Stephen Batchelor

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing plc

ISBN: 0-7475-3843-3

 

Title: ‘Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha’

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

Publisher: Parallax Press, Berkeley, California

ISBN: 0-7126-5417-8

 

Title: ‘Whether you are going or staying’

Author: 13th Century Zen Monk, Daikaku

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