The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. Before this, he was the son of the king’s chaplain and was raised in the palace with the crown prince. The two men were very close friends, and when the prince became king, the Bodhisatta knew he would be asked to replace his own father and become the royal chaplain. But he did not want this, so he went off to the Himalayas to live as an ascetic. Not long after, the king was ready to appoint the Bodhisatta as chaplain and sent his men to bring him back to the city. When the messenger told the Bodhisatta of the king’s wish, he answered that he would not return and give up his simple, holy life even if he were to be made a universal monarch.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
One of the Buddha’s disciples, while out on a morning alms round, saw a woman so beautiful he fell in love at first sight. After returning to the monastery, he became depressed and longed for his old life. The Buddha told him a religious life leading to salvation was better than a worldly life and told him this story as an example.
The king and messenger were earlier births of Ananda and Sariputta, two of the Buddha’s top disciples.