The Prince strings and fires a heavy arrow at the contest of arms, the sound resounding around the city

When Prince Siddhattha had become a young man, his father sent him to study the arts [of warfare] at the well-known center of learning, "Visvamitta." The Prince readily learned how to use and a bow and arrow and the art of administration, so that he quickly learned all that the teacher had to teach him.

In this picture, Prince Siddhattha is 16 years old and has finished his studies. His father had ordered the building of three palaces, one for each of the three seasons, for his son to live in at his pleasure. The first palace was ideal for the cold season, the second was ideal for the hot season, (what methods were used to control the temperature in these palaces is unknown), while the third was ideal for the rainy season.

The King then had the relatives on both sides of the royal family send their eligible daughters for selection of the prince's future wife. This was because the King wanted to have his son look after the royal estate rather than leave home and become a religious teacher.

But the relatives felt that the Prince should be allowed to demonstrate his prowess at his newly learned arts for the benefit of his kinsmen, so the King invited all the kin of the royal family to a gathering in front of a newly built pavilion in the center of the city to watch the prince's demonstration of his archery skills.

The prince's bow was called "Sahasthama", meaning "the bow that is so heavy it takes a thousand men to lift." But the Prince could lift it, according to the Pathamasambodhi, "as a woman might lift a bobbin." When the relatives gathered there saw this they were full of praise. Then when the Prince drew the bow, the sound of the stretched bow resounded throughout Kapilavatthu, so that people who had not come to the display and did not know that the Prince was firing an arrow, asked each other what the sound was.

The target that the Prince was aiming for was the fur of a yak's tail placed some distance away. The Prince fired the arrow right into he center of the target, as it is said, "with an eye that was clear and aided by the five senses purified of stains." All the relatives gladly offered their daughters, from among whom the Prince would choose his wife. Among them was Bimbayasodhara.

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