Who was Koundinya?
The sage, Koundinya, was a royal court scholar. He is known for predicting Prince Siddhartha Gautama would become Buddha (the Enlightened One). This news was not well-received by the king. Nonetheless, Koundinya vowed to become one of the Buddha’s most dedicated disciples.
Eventually the prince (Siddhartha) decided to leave his life of luxury behind and followed Koundinya into the forest to live as an ascetic. They lived together for six years in extreme self-deprivation and harsh living conditions. Siddhartha's hope was to find enlightenment. Eventually Siddhartha decided this was not the path to enlightenment and left Koundinya, which greatly saddened Koundinya.
The Middle Way
However, on his own, the Buddha discovered that true happiness was a balance of both extremes, the material and the spiritual, and he called it the Middle Way.The Buddha returned to Koundinya and the forest community to share his new philosophy. After initial trepidation, Koundinya became one of the Buddha’s first students and taught this Middle Way for the rest of his life. The story of Koundinya is one of faith and belief. His trust and confidence in Siddhartha remained steadfast even when the Buddha ventured away from Koundinya’s own teachings.