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Synopsis

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I. Prologue
¡§Homage to the Triple Gem¡¨; music by Joseph Abella; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
The people pay homage to the great Buddha through a solemn song.

II. India
¡§This King Needs a Son¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
The caste system1 of India is presented through specific song and dance. The Brahmins, royalty, workers and slaves all live in harmony under the rule of King Suddhodana and his wife, Queen Maya. Unable to bear a child to inherit the kingdom, the people of Kapilavatthu beseech the king to give them an heir to the throne.

III. The Queen's Dream
¡§Heaven is in Our Hearts¡¨; music by Jude Gitamondoc; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
An interpretative dance is presented to depict Queen Maya's dream of a white elephant, representing the birth of Siddhartha and her own death. This introduces the cyclical concept of life and death that was prevalent in the Indian psyche at that time.

At the end of the dream, children fill the stage to sing a song of hope to the world. Change starts within. Only when everyone attains his/her own emancipation can a new and peaceful world be created.

IV. The Birth of Siddhartha
¡§My Son is Not My Own¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
Queen Maya gives birth to Siddhartha. She sings a prophetic song that refers to Siddhartha's mission to the world. King Suddhodana does not understand. At the end of the song, Queen Maya dies.

V. The Prophecy of Assita
The sage Assita prophesies that the child Siddhartha will become a monk; and later, the Enlightened One. King Suddhodana rejects the prophecy and vows that his son will one day be king. He decrees that Siddhartha shall never see suffering, sickness and death. The prince shall only see beauty and happiness, and his life will revolve within the pleasures and comfort within the palace walls.

VI. Siddhartha Becomes a Man
¡§Siddhartha¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
¡§Vow to Be¡¨; music by Alfeuso Esposite; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
Siddhartha grows to become a handsome prince, adored and worshipped by his people. News of his marriage to Princess Yasodhara spread like wildfire all over the kingdom. The scene climaxes in a grand wedding celebration. Something inside the prince's heart bothers him. Despite the richness and pleasures within the palace, Siddhartha longed to discover the world outside the palace walls.

VII. Siddhartha Sees the World
¡§The Four Special Signs¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
King Suddhodana orders the kingdom to be cleaned and decorated before Siddhartha is allowed to leave the confines of the palace. While exploring the grounds outside the palace, Siddhartha finally sees the realities of life: old age, sickness and death. He is distraught to learn that no one can escape these sufferings.

Siddhartha encounters a lone monk who seems quiet and peaceful. He learns that the monk left his home and riches behind to find the truth to overcome world suffering. Soon enough, Siddhartha resolves to find the answer and achieve enlightenment. He decides to run away to become a monk.

VIII. Siddhartha and the Ascetics2
¡§Longing¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
Siddhartha comes to the forest of the Ascetics and lives among them to practice asceticism. This is portrayed in a dark, gothic dance number.

Back in the palace, Princess Yasodhara longs for the company of her lost husband. The scene is juxtaposed with Siddhartha's own longing for self-actualization.

IX. The Search for Siddhartha
¡§This King Needs a Son¡¨ (reprise) / ¡§I'll Follow You¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
King Suddhodana sends five attendants to look for his son. In a comical song, the attendants rummage through every corner of the kingdom to look for Siddhartha. In desperation, they go into the woods and finally find Siddhartha, already a practicing ascetic.

They are greatly awed by what they see and follow him for six years. However, their awe turns to disgust when they see Siddhartha fainting and giving in to the needs of the flesh by drinking goats' milk offered by a common shepherd girl. Feeling cheated, they leave Siddhartha.

X. Siddhartha Finds the Bodhi Tree
¡§Vow to Be¡¨ (reprise)
Siddhartha realizes that asceticism is not the way to enlightenment. He finds a bodhi tree where he begins his journey to self-actualization.

XI. Papiyan Attacks Siddhartha: The Battle Between Good and Evil
¡§A Prayer¡¨; music by Jude Gitamondoc; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
Papiyan, the Evil One, tempts and attempts to dissuade Siddhartha from his noble cause. The Celestial Guards come to protect Siddhartha. The age-old battle between good and evil is portrayed in a creative dance. This represents the trepidation that must have been going on in the mind of Siddhartha and the spiritual struggle he underwent to attain enlightenment. At the height of the scene, Siddhartha enters the state of Samadhi3. He has now awakened the universal truth and has in fact become the Buddha. He begins to teach what he has learned and earns the respect of all humankind.

XII. The Buddha Returns to the Forest of the Ascetics
¡§The Four Noble Truths¡¨; music & lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc
His former ascetic companions are surprised to see Siddhartha fully emancipated and enlightened as the Buddha. The Buddha teaches them the right way to enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The ascetics become his first disciples.

XIII. The Buddha Returns Home
¡§Siddhartha¡¨ (reprise) / ¡§My Son is Not My Own¡¨ (reprise)
The Buddha returns home after being away for several years. The people of Kapilavatthu flock to the city to greet the Buddha. The prophecy of Assita is fulfilled when King Suddhodana finally meets his long lost son.

XIV. The Buddha Reconciles with Princess Yasodhara
¡§Silently I Recite Amitabha's Name¡¨; music by Joseph Abella; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
The Buddha arrives at the imperial palace and meets Princess Yasodhara. He explains to her that he is no longer the same Siddhartha that she married. He has transformed into the Enlightened Buddha. Princess Yasodhara accepts her fate in humility and respects the Buddha with a solemn song.

XV. The Buddha Instructs His Own People
¡§We are One¡¨; music by Jude Gitamondoc; lyrics based on poetry by Ven. Master Hsing Yun
The Buddha teaches the Right Way to Enlightenment. We are all in fact one in our differences. We must forget selfishness and work for the common good. In the end, the Buddha passes on from this world to Nirvana.

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1 Caste system (Sanskrit: varna): Hinduism categorizes human society into four varnas. (source: Wikipedia)
     Brahmin - scholarly community, including teachers, doctors, and other scholars
     Kshatriya - warriors and rulers or political community
     Vaishya - mercantile and artisan community
     Shudra - service-providing community

2 ascetics: (n., adj.) those who practice strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline. (source: Merriam-Webster Online)

3 Samadhi: a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still (one-pointed or concentrated) though the person remains conscious. (source: Wikipedia)
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