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Chapter 10: The World Beyond the Wall: Trip IV

Some time passed, and Prince Xīdá-duō was out riding once again outside the estate with his friend and driver Chēnì. Chēnì was feeling fairly comfortable, for the day was beautiful and the trip was going well. Most importantly the prince, who was so often morose, seemed to be in a cheerful mood for a change.

Suddenly they caught a glimpse of an ascetic wearing a yellow robe. Xīdá-duō was filled with his usual curiosity, and he asked Chēnì what this meant.

"Not again!" thought Chēnì, for he could already foresee what was surely about to happen. Still, he had been asked a question, and he felt he had to answer it.

"He is a person who has left his family (chūjiārén 出家人) to practice religious exercises (xiūdào 修道). He hopes to discover the way to triumph over suffering."

Xīdá-duō was fascinated, just as Chēnì was afraid he would be. When they returned, he sat in his room thinking about the idea of leaving one's family to study the way to overcome suffering. If that was possible, then somewhere somebody must have figured out how to do it. Perhaps he could find that person and learn that method, and then bring the news back to save the people who hadn't learned of it yet.

picture by Chris Cunningham
He kept repeating over and over to himself, "The obstacles are tightening around me."
Drawing by Chris Cunningham, Sixth College (UCSD), Class of 2009, by permission

As he sat thinking, someone came and told him his wife, Lady Yéshū-tuóluó, had given birth to a cute little boy. Xīdá-duō had little immediate reaction. The courier asked what the child should be named. But Xīdá-duō paid little attention. He kept repeating over and over to himself, "The obstacles are tightening around me."

Of course, he was expressing frustration at his situation. But the courier thought "obstacle" was supposed to be the child's name. So the boy was called Prince Luó-hóuluó 罗睺罗, meaning "eclipse" or "obstacle," because of what Xīdá-duō said.

Some people say that Lady Yéshū-tuóluó carried Luó-hóuluó in her womb for six years, and that she didn't bear him until Xīdá-duō became a buddha. Some also say that he received the name "circle" because he was born during an eclipse. And some people say that he is reborn as the son of every buddha. But these things are hard to know.

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