After miles of travelling towards the south, they came to the bank of a river. The prince, trusting in the strength of his horse, spurred it on to leap across the river. Once across the river, they stopped to rest. Then in the presence of his charioteer, Prince Siddhartha cut off his long black hair with his sword and gave his royal garments to a hunter in exchange for his tattered robe. He then handed his ornaments to Chandaka and instructed him to return to the palace with the ornaments and his horse, and to inform King Shuddhodana of his silent departure and his renunciation of worldly life. With a heavy heart, Chandaka brought the sad news back to the palace. Meanwhile, Prince Siddhartha, adopting the homeless life of an ascetic, moved on, alone but determined. He was than twenty-nine years old.
When the news was broken to King Shuddhodana, he was filled with sorrow. A minister suggested that a mission be sent to dissuade the prince from renouncing the royal life. His suggestion was accepted and two ministers, accompanied by a retinue, were assigned the task of bringing the prince back to the palace. They searched for him all along the way and finally spotted him on a highway. They begged the prince to return with them but he firmly rejected their request. Feeling very disappointed, they returned to the palace except for five who decided to follow the prince in his search for the Truth. Together they headed for Rajagriha.
Title: Buddhism for Beginners
By: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Chapter 6 | Page 30 to 31