18 Apr Buddha’s Birthday and Astrology
Buddhists around the world will be celebrating the birth of Buddha either this month or in May. The traditional date this important event is celebrated on is April the 8th, although the precise date may vary according to region (April 8 or May 8 in Japan; second Sunday in May in Taiwan; 8th day of the 4th lunar on the East Asian mainland, and the official date set for this year is the16th of May).
While most people are aware of how Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the ‘holy man’ he is today known and revered as, few (especially non-Buddhists) are aware of the fact that his life’s path was accurately predicted by astrology shortly after his birth in 563 BC.
According to legend, an astrologer by the name of Asita visited King ?uddhodana, Prince Siddhartha Gautama’s father, and predicted that the young prince would either turn out to be a great king or, if allowed to see what life outside palace walls was really like, renounce wealth and the material world in general and become a holy man.
The Fulfilment of the Prediction
Determined that his son would one day be king, ?uddhodana subsequently prevented the prince from venturing out of palace grounds. In spite of his father’s efforts, Gautama managed to leave the palace several times at the age of 29.
After learning how ordinary people suffered through meeting an elderly man, a man who was sick, a corpse and finally, and perhaps most importantly, an apparently content ascetic holy man who was at peace with his lot and the world, the young prince abandoned his royal life and took up his spiritual quest, proving Asita’s prediction to be accurate.
Asita used and interpreted the positions of the planets, sun and moon in relationship to one another and other related aspects by application of a specific set of rules and principles (you can learn more about how astrology works here) at the time, date and place of the prince’s birth to establish tendencies and subsequently predict the two possible paths lying before the prince. Modern astrologers use the same principles and rules Asita based his predictions on to create birth charts, compatibility (relationship) charts and personalised monthly or yearly horoscopes.
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