the sermon at benares
Sermon is a religious talk delivered by a prophet or Saint. Here we have the journey of Goutam Buddha from prince hood to his saintly life. He left the palace at the age of 25, after seeing the sufferings of the world, to seek enlightenment. He wandered for seven years, here and there, and under a peepal tree at Bodhgaya he got it. His first sermon was delivered at Benaras as it was considered to be the holiest place because of the river Ganga.
He thinks that he who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, complaint and grief. He who has drawn out the arrow has become composed, and will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all such circumstances will be free from sorrow and be blessed.
Kisa Gautami was grieving over the death of her son. She moved from door to door and at last came to Buddha. She made him a humble request to make her son alive. Buddha said he would do but he asked a handful of mustard seeds. He further commanded it must be taken from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent or friend.
She went from house to house but was unable to find one where nobody had died. She was tired and hopeless and sat down at the wayside watching the light of the city as they flickered up. And she realised that these lives flicker up for some time and are extinguished again.
This way she was taught that the lives of mortals in this world are troubled and brief and there is no means by which one can avoid deaths. As all earthen vessels made by the potter are being broken, so is the life of mortals. Death is inevitable.
short questions & answers
Q1: What do you know about the early life of Buddha?
A: Gautama Buddha was born in a royal family. His childhood name was Siddhartha. At the age of 12 he was sent away for schooling in Hindu sacred scriptures and four years letter he was married to a princess, Yashodhara.
Q2: What did he see when he went out hunting? What did he do then?
A: He saw a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession, and finally a monk begging for alms. These sights moved him so much that he decided to seek in enlightenment about the sorrows he had came across.
Q: Where did Buddha preach his first sermon?
A: Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon at the city of Benares, which is regarded as the most holy of the dipping places on the river Ganges.
text book questions and answers
Q.01- When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?
Ans:- When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house asking for medicine to bring her son back to life. She did not get it because there is no medicine which can bring a dead man back to life.
Q.02- Kisa Gotami again goes from house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she ask for, the Second time around? Does she get it? Why not?
Ans:- After she speaks with the Buddha, Kisa Goutami again goes from house to house asking for mustard-seed but in vain because there is no house where no one has lost a child, a husband, parent or friend.
Q.03- What does Kisa Gotami understand the second time that she failed to understand the first time? Was this what the Buddha wanted her to understand?
Ans:- Kisa Gotami understood the second time that death is the ultimate truth. All creatures that are born must die one day. This is what Buddha wanted her understand.
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