The Brahmins perform a ceremony for the infant Prince, naming him Siddhattha

When the infant Prince had been born five days, King Suddhodana called a great meeting. At the meeting were the royal relatives, both on the father's and mother's sides, the royal advisers, ministers, and Brahmins who were versed in the Vedas. The meeting was held to perform two auspicious ceremonies for the infant Prince: a naming ceremony and a prediction ceremony. There were altogether 108 Brahmins to conduct the ceremony, but only eight of them were to actively perform the ceremony. The others were present as observers. The eight Brahmins were named as follows:

1. Rama 2. Lakkhana 3. Yanna 4. Dhuja 5. Bhoja 6. Sudatta 7. Suyama 8. Kondanna

The meeting passed a resolution that the child was to be named "Siddhattha", an auspicious name having two meanings. One meaning is "He who attains everything he wishes." Another interpretation is, as the first-born son, "fulfilling the wishes" of his father. In simple terms, King Suddhodana had obtained his first son in fulfillment of his wishes. In India during that time people were not usually referred to by their give names but by their clan names (gotta), which correspond with the surnames of our times. Thus the Prince was usually referred to as Prince Gotama, or simply Gotama.

Also at the ceremony, the eight Brahmins made predictions based on the features of the infant Prince. Their predictions fell into two groups. Seven of the Brahmins, from the first to the seventh named above, were in agreement in their provisional predictions that if the Prince stayed to oversee his royal estate he would become a Universal Emperor of great power, but if he left the worldly life and became a homeless religious mendicant he would become enlightened as a Perfectly Self-enlightened Buddha (sammasambuddha), the foremost teacher of the world. Only one of the Brahmins, the younger one, gave the definite prediction that the Prince would leave the home life and become a Buddha. This Brahmin later became the leader of the "five ascetics" (pancavaggiya) who became religious mendicants in the Buddha's footsteps, and this Brahmin became the Buddha's first enlightened disciple, familiar to students as "Anna Kondanna." The remaining seven Brahmins did not become mendicants because they were all of advanced age and did not live to see the Buddha leave the palace.
 

Copyright 2002 Mahidol University All rights reserved.
Mahidol University Computing Center, Rama VI Road, Rajathewi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND Tel. (662) 354-4333