"The Sermon at Benares" is an essay with two distinct parts. The first part, biographical in nature, lays bare the first phase of prince Siddhartha's life that was lived in luxury. This part also includes his encounter with the sufferings of human life. The second part brings out the enlightened state of Gautama Buddha where he teaches Kisa Gotami and the world at large how to overcome grief and suffering. This part is the actual sermon at Benares.
The theme of the account "The Sermon at Benares" is the inevitability of death. Anything that comes in this mortal world is bound to perish. The sermon at Benares reflects the Buddha's wisdom and he brings home the point that the principle of appearing and finally disappearing applies to every phase of life. The light that brightens must be consumed by darkness. In sum, everything in this world is subject to decay.
The message that the extract gives its readers is that, life is full of sufferings, physical as well as mental; and sooner or later one is bound to become aware of them. It also brings home the idea that death is inevitable and one must submit to it. If one wants to rise above the life of frustration and desolation, one must shed all selfishness. The sermon also teaches us that it is futile to grieve over the departed ones. Grief makes one sick and our lamentations are never able to save the dead or bring them back. In order to be blessed, one must keep oneself free from sorrow.
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Gautama Buddha was born in 563 B. C. He was born in a royal family. He was a prince. His name was Siddhartha Gautama. At the age of twelve he was sent away for schooling. He studied all the sacred Hindu scriptures. He returned after four years. At the age of sixteen he married a princess. They had a son. For ten years the couple passed a happy life. Siddhartha had been shielded from the suffering of the world. However, when he was twenty-five, Siddhartha saw a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession.
Finally, he came across a monk begging for alms. This was his first encounter with the harsh realities of life. These sights made him so sad that he decided to renounce the worldly pleasures. He left his family and became a beggar. He went out into the world to seek spiritual knowledge. Siddhartha Gautama wandered for seven years in search of wisdom and truth.
Finally, he sat down under a fig tree to meditate. He vowed to stay there until he got enlightenment. After seven days, Gautama got enlightenment. He named the tree as the 'Bodhi Tree', that is 'The tree of wisdom'. He became known as the Buddha' which means 'enlightened' or 'the awakened'. He began to teach and to spread his message of wisdom and truth. He became known as the Buddha (the enlightened).
Buddha gave his first sermon at Benares. It is the holiest of places on the bank of the Ganges. His first sermon reflects his wisdom about one inscrutable kind of suffering i.e., death. Here, the Buddha talks about the universality of death which is inevitable and can't be escaped.
A lady named Kisa Gotami had an only son. One day, her son died. She wanted that her child should become alive again. She wanted some medicine to bring her son to life. People called her mad. At last, she came across a man. He advised her to meet the Buddha. She approached Buddha with a request to give her a medicine so that her only son could be live again. After a deep thought, the Buddha asked her to bring a handful of mustard-seed. But there was a condition. She must bring it from a house where no one had died. Kisa Gotami went from door-to-door to get the mustard-seed. She found mustard-seed in every home but she could not find a house where nobody had died. By evening, she was sad and tired. She saw the lights of the city. Soon there was darkness of the night. Now she considered the fate of man. Now she realised that death is inevitable. No one can escape it.
She came back to the Buddha and asked for his blessings. The Buddha in his sermon told her that our life is brief and painful. Everyone who takes birth has to die. The vessel made by the potter is not permanent. It has to break one day. In the same way, everyone has to die. Death spares none. A father cannot save his son. Everyone grieves when someone dear dies. But grieving cannot bring the dead back to life. So, death and sufferings are unavoidable. The wise persons do not grieve as they know the truth. Weeping does not bring peace to the mind. On the other hand, a person's pain becomes greater by grieving. His body also suffers. One who has learnt to control his grief shall have peace of mind. That person is blessed, who has overcome his sorrow.
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गौतम बुद्ध का जन्म 563 ई०पू० में हुआ था। उसका जन्म एक शाही परिवार में हुआ था। वह एक राजकुमार था। उसका नाम सिद्धार्थ गौतम था। बारह साल की उम्र में उसे स्कूली शिक्षा के लिए भेजा गया। उसने सारे पवित्र हिन्दू धार्मिक ग्रंथों का अध्ययन किया। वह चार वर्ष बाद लौटा सोलह साल की उम्र में उसकी शादी एक राजकुमारी से हुई। उनका एक बेटा हुआ दस साल तक इस युगल ने बड़ा प्रसन्नतापूर्वक जीवन व्यतीत किया सिद्धार्थ को अब तक संसार के दुःखों से दूर रखा गया था। मगर जब वह 25 साल का था तो सिद्धार्थ ने एक बीमार व्यक्ति देखा, फिर एक बूढ़ा व्यक्ति देखा और फिर उसने एक शवयात्रा देखी अंत में, उसने एक भिक्षु को देखा जो भीख माँग रहा था। यह उसका जीवन की वास्तविकताओं से पहला साक्षात्कार पा इन दृश्यों ने उसे इतना उदास कर दिया कि उसने सांसारिक सुखों को त्याग देने का प्रण कर लिया। उसने अपने परिवार को छोड़ दिया और एक भिक्षु बन गया। वह संसार में आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान की खोज में निकल पड़ा। सिद्धार्थ गौतम सात साल तक ज्ञान और सच्चाई की खोज में भटकता रहा। अंत में, वह मनन करने के लिए एक वट वृक्ष के नीचे बैठ गया।
उसने प्रण किया कि वह वहाँ पर तब तक बैठा रहेगा जब तक उसे ज्ञान की प्राप्ति नहीं हो जाती सात दिन के बाद उसे आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान मिता। उसने उस वृक्ष का नाम 'योधि वृक्ष रख दिया अर्थात् ज्ञान का वृक्ष'। उसे लोग 'युद्ध' के नाम से जानने लगे अर्थात् "ज्ञान वाता" अथवा "जागृत"। उसने शिक्षा देना और ज्ञान और सब का संदेश फैलाना आरंभ कर दिया। बुद्ध ने अपना पहला उपदेश बनारस में दिया। यह गंगा के तट पर सबसे पवित्र स्थान है। उसका पहला उपदेश रहस्यमयी कष्ट अर्थात् मृत्यु के बारे में उसके ज्ञान को दर्शाता है। इसमें बुद्ध मृत्यु की सार्वभौमिकता के बारे में बताता है जोकि अटल है और उससे बचा नहीं जा सकता।
किसा गौतमी नाम की एक स्त्री का एकमात्र बेटा था। एक दिन उसके बेटे की मृत्यु हो गई। वह चाहती थी कि उसका बेटा फिर से जीवित हो जाए। वह चाहती थी कि कोई ऐसी औषधि मिल जाए जो उसके बेटे को जीवित कर दे। लोगों ने उसे पागल का आखिर उसे एक आदमी मिता। उसने उसे सलाह दी कि वह बुद्ध से मिले। यह बुद्ध के पास आई और उससे प्रार्थना की कि यह उसे कोई औषधि दे ताकि उसका बेटा फिर से जी उठे। काफी गहरे विचार के बाद बुद्ध ने उसे कहा कि यह एक मुट्ठी भर सरसों के बीज ले आए।
मगर एक शर्त थी। उसे सरसों उस पर से लानी थी जहाँ कोई भी व्यक्ति नहीं मरा था। किसा गीतमी सरसों ताने के लिए घर पर गई। उसे सरसों तो हर घर में मिली मगर ऐसा कोई घर नहीं मिला जहाँ कभी किसी को मृत्यु नहीं हुई हो। शाम तक, यह उदास हो गई और थक गई। उसने शहर की रोशनियाँ देखीं।
शीघ्र ही रात का अंधेरा हो गया। अब उसने मनुष्य के भाग्य के बारे में सोचा। अब उसने महसूस किया कि मौत अवश्यम्भावी है। इससे कोई भी नहीं बच सकता।
वह बुद्ध के पास सौट आई और उससे आशीर्वाद माँगा अपने उपदेश में बुद्ध ने उसे बताया कि हमारा जीवन संक्षिप्त और कष्टपूर्ण है। हर प्राणी जो जन्म लेता है, मरता है। कुम्हार द्वारा बनाया गया बर्तन स्थायी नहीं है। एक दिन इसे टूट जाना है। इसी प्रकार हर व्यक्ति को मरना है। मीत किसी को नहीं छोड़ती कोई पिता अपने बच्चे को नहीं बचा सकता। जब कोई प्रिय मरता है तो हर व्यक्ति रोता है। मगर रोने से भरा हुआ व्यक्ति वापस नहीं आ जाता। इसलिए मौत और कष्ट अरत है। अक्लमंद व्यक्ति अफसोस नहीं करते क्योंकि ये सच को जानते हैं। रोने से मन को शांति नहीं मिलती। इसके विपरीत विलाप करने से व्यक्ति की पीड़ा बढ़ जाती है। उसके शरीर को भी कष्ट होता है। यह व्यक्ति जिसने अपने दुःख पर काबू पाना सीख लिया है, उसे मन को शांति मिलती है। जिसने अपने दुःख पर काबू पा लिया है, उसे आशीर्वाद मिलता है।
|2||scriptures||religious books (धार्मिक पुस्तकें)|
|3||befitted||suited (उचित था)|
|4||royalty||kingly family (शाही परिवार)|
|5||heretofore||till then (तब तक)|
|6||shielded||protected (रक्षा की)|
|7||chanced upon||saw by chance (संयोग से देखा)|
|8||funeral procession||procession of a dead body for cremation (शव-यात्रा)|
|11||enlightenment||spiritual knowledge (आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान)|
|13||vowed||swore (कसम खाई)।|
|14||Preached||gave sermons (उपदेश दिया)|
|16||dipping places||place where people take bath (नहाने के स्थान)|
|17||preserved||protected (रक्षा की)|
|20||at length||in the end (अंत में):|
|22||repaired||(here) went (गया)|
|23||mustard seed||an oil seed (सरसों)|
|24||procure||get (प्राप्त करना)|
|26||weary||tired (थक गई)|
|27||hopeless||in despair (दुःख में)|
|28||nickered up||shone (चमका)|
|29||extinguishedput||out (बुझ गया)|
|30||desolation||deep sorrow (गहरा दुःख)|
|32||surrendered||submitted (हार मान लेना / समर्पण करना)|
|33||mortals||human beings (नश्वर)|
|34||Earthen vessels||pot made of baked clay (मिट्टी का बर्तन)|
|35||potter||one who makes pots (कुम्हार)|
|36||overcome||controlled by (नियंत्रित होना)|
|37||depart||go away (चले जाना)|
|40||lamenting||grieving (अफसोस करना)|
|41||slaughter||killing (वध करना)|
|42||afficted with||affected by (पीड़ित होना)|
|43||decay||rotting/degeneration (गलत/पतन होना)|
|46||blessed the one who gets||blessing (जिसे आशीर्वाद मिला हो)|
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GAUTAMA Buddha (563 B.C. – 483 B.C.) began life as a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, in northern India. At twelve, he was sent away for schooling in the Hindu sacred (embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion) scriptures (the sacred writings of a religion) and four years later he returned home to marry a princess.
They had a son and lived for ten years as befitted (be appropriate for; suit) royalty. At about the age of twenty-five, the prince, heretofore shielded from the sufferings of the world, while out hunting chanced upon (came across by chance) a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession, and finally a monk begging for alms. (- money or food given to poor people; charity) These sights so moved him that he at once went out into the world to seek enlightenment (- a state of high spiritual knowledge) concerning the sorrows he had witnessed.
He wandered (to move without a fixed course) for seven years and finally sat down under a peepal tree, where he vowed (solemnly promise to do a specified thing) to stay until enlightenment came. Enlightened after seven days, he renamed the tree the Bodhi Tree (Tree of Wisdom) and began to teach and to share his new understandings. At that point he became known as the Buddha (the Awakened or the Enlightened). The Buddha preached (deliver a religious address to an assembled group of people) his first sermon (a talk on religious or moral subject) at the city of Benares, most holy (sacred) of the dipping places (bathing) on the River Ganges; that sermon has been preserved and is given here. It reflects the Buddha’s wisdom about one inscrutable (something which cannot be understood) kind of suffering.
The first sermon he gave was preserved and is famous till date (It is given below as well). It gives a new perspective to man’s unending sufferings.
Kisa Gotami had an only son, and he died. In her grief she carried the dead child to all her neighbours, asking them for medicine (wonder drug), and the people said, “She has lost her senses. The boy is dead.” At length, Kisa Gotami met a man who replied to her request, “I cannot give thee (you) medicine for thy (your in old fashioned way, stylistic use) child, but I know a physician who can.” And the girl said, “Pray(please) tell me, sir; who is it?” And the man replied, "Go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha.” Kisa Gotami repaired (a stylistic use of went to) to the Buddha and cried, “Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy.”
The Buddha answered, “I want a handful of mustard seed.” And when the girl in her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added, “The mustard-seed must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent or friend.”
Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house to house, and the people pitied her and said, “Here is mustard seed; take it!” But when she asked, “Did a son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?” they answered her, “Alas! the living is few, but the dead are many. Do not remind us of our deepest grief.” And there was no house but some beloved one had died in it. Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the wayside watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and were extinguished again. At last, the darkness of the night reigned everywhere. And she considered the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished again. And she thought to herself, “How selfish am I in my grief! Death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation (area which is filled with deep sorrow) there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness.”
The Buddha said, ‘‘The life of mortals (those bound to die) in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. For there is not any means by which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature are living beings. As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death.
As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.
“Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen (a man who is one of a person’s blood relations) their relations. Mark! while relatives are looking on and lamenting (express regret or disappointment about something) deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter. (Killing of animals for food) So the world is afflicted (affect adversely) with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world.
“Not from weeping nor from grieving will anyone obtain peace of mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his body will suffer. He will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are not saved by his lamentation (expression of sorrow). He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief. He who has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.”
गौतम बुद्ध (563 ईस्वी पूर्व-183 ईस्वी पूर्व) ने अपना जीवन उत्तरी भारत में सिद्धार्थ गीतम के नाम से शुरु किया था। 12 वर्ष की आयु में, उसे हिन्दू धार्मिक ग्रन्थों का अध्ययन करने के लिए भेज दिया गया और चार वर्ष पश्चात् एक राजकुमारी से शादी करने के लिए वह घर लौटा। उनका एक बेटा था तथा दस वर्ष तक उन्होंने एक शाही परिवार वाला जीवन बिताया। लगभग 25 वर्ष की आयु में, राजकुमार, जिसे अब से पहले तक संसार के कष्टों से बचाकर रखा गया था, शिकार पर जाते समय उसे एक बीमार आदमी, फिर एक बूढ़ा फिर एक मृत आदमी की शवयात्रा और अन्त में भीख माँग रहा एक भिक्षु मिल गया। इन दृश्यों ने उसे इतना हिला दिया कि वह तुरन्त उन दुःखों के बारे में ज्ञान प्राप्त करने के लिए बाहरी संसार में चला गया जो उसने देखे थे। वह सात साल तक घूमता रहा और अंततः एक पीपल के वृक्ष के नीचे बैठ गया, जहाँ उसने तब तक बैठे रहने की प्रतिज्ञा की जब तक उसे ज्ञान की प्राप्ति नहीं हो जाती।
सात साल के पश्चात् ज्ञान की प्राप्ति होने पर उसने उस वृक्ष का पुनः नामकरण करते हुए उसे बोधि वृक्ष (ज्ञान का पेड़) का नाम दे दिया और वहाँ पर उपदेश देना तथा अपनी नई समझ का प्रसार करना शुरु कर दिया। उस समय यह बुद्ध (जागृत एवं ज्ञानी) के रूप में प्रसिद्ध हो गया। बुद्ध ने अपना पहला उपदेश बनारस शहर में दिया था, जो गंगा नदी पर स्थित स्नान घाटों में सबसे अधिक प्रसिद्ध है। उस उपदेश को सुरक्षित रखा गया जो यहाँ पर दिया गया। इससे एक अति कठिन प्रकार के दुःख के बारे में बुद्ध की बुद्धिमता का पता चलता है।
किसा गीतमी का एक इकलीता पुत्र था, और वह मर गया। अपने दुःख में वह उस मृत बच्चे को अपने सभी पड़ोतियों के पास लेकर गई, और उनसे औषधि की माँग की और लोग कहते थे, "वह पागल हो गई है। यह लड़का मर गया है। " अंततः किसा गौतमी एक आदमी से मिली जिसने उसकी प्रार्थना का उत्तर दिया, "मैं तुम्हें तुम्हारे बच्चे के लिए औषधि नहीं दे सकता हूँ लेकिन मैं एक चिकित्सक को जानता हूँ जो औषधि दे सकता है।" और औरत ने कहा, "भगवान के लिए मुझे बताइए, श्रीमान जी, वह कौन है ?" और उस आदमी ने उत्तर दिया, “शाक्यमुनि, बुद्ध के पास जाओ।"
किसा गौतमी बुद्ध के पास चली गई और रोते हुए बोली, “भगवान और स्वामी, मुझे औषधि दीजिए जो मेरे लड़के को ठीक कर देगी।" बुद्ध ने उत्तर दिया, "मुझे मुट्ठी-भर सरसों के दाने चाहिए।" और जब औरत ने अपनी प्रसन्नता में इसे प्राप्त करवाने का वायदा किया तो बुद्ध ने आगे कहा, "सरसों के दाने ऐसे घर से हासिल करने हैं जिस घर में किसी बच्चे, पति, माता-पिता या फिर मित्र की मौत न हुई से।"
बेचारी किसा गौतमी घर-घर भटकती रही तथा लोग उस पर दया व्यक्त करते हुए कहते, ये रहे सरसों के दाने, इन्हें से लो।" लेकिन जब यह पूछती, "क्या कोई बेटा या बेटी, पिता या माता की तुम्हारे परिवार में मृत्यु हुई है उसे उत्तर देते, "अफसोस ! जीवित तो बहुत थोड़े हैं परन्तु मृत अनेकों हैं। हमें हमारे अत्यन्त गहरे दुःखों की याद न दिलाओ तथा वहाँ कोई ऐसा पर नहीं जहाँ किसी प्रियजन की मृत्यु न हुई हो।
किसा गौतमी हताश और निराश हो गई, और सड़क के किनारे बैठकर शहर की रोशनियों को निहारने लगी, जैसे-जैसे वे चमक रही थीं और फिर तुप्त हो जाती थीं। अंत में रात का अन्धेरा सभी जगह छा गया तथा वह मनुष्य के भाग्य के बारे में सोचने लगी कि उनके जीवन टिमटिमाते हैं और फिर बन जाते हैं। तथा वह अपने मन में सोचने लगी, "में अपने दुःख में कितनी स्वार्थी हूँ। मृत्यु तो सभी के लिए सांझी है, फिर भी गहरे दुःखों की इस घाटी में, एक रास्ता है जो ऐसे व्यक्ति को अमरता की ओर से जाता है जिसने सारे स्वार्थों का त्याग कर दिया है।"
बुद्ध ने कहा, "इस संसार में नश्वर लोगों का जीवन कष्टों से भरा हुआ है और बहुत छोटा तथा पीड़ा से युक्त है।" है क्योंकि कोई भी ऐसा तरीका नहीं है कि जिसका इस पृथ्वी पर जन्म हुआ है उसकी मृत्यु न हो। बुढ़ापे में पहुंचने के पश्चात मौत आती है। जीवित जीयों की प्रवृत्ति ऐसी ही होती है। क्योंकि पके हुए फलों के नीचे गिरने का खतरा पहले होता है, इसलिए नश्वर जीव जब जन्म लेते हैं तो उनके लिए हमेशा मौत का खतरा है।
जिस प्रकार कुमार के द्वारा बनाए गए मिट्टी के सभी वर्तनों का अंत टूटने से होता है, नश्वर जीवों का जीवन भी पैसा ही होता है। छोटे तथा बड़े दोनों ऐसे जो मूर्ख हैं तथा ये जो बुद्धिमान है सभी मृत्यु के वश में आ जाते हैं। सभी मृत्यु के अधीन है। थे, जिनकी मृत्यु आ जाती है,
जीवन से प्रस्थान कर जाते हैं, एक पिता अपने पुत्र को नहीं बचा सकता है, न ही सम्बन्धी अपने किसी रिश्तेदार को देख लीजिए जिस समय सम्बन्धी देख रहे होते हैं और विताप कर रहे होते हैं एक-एक करके नश्वरों को उसी प्रकार से उठाकर ले जाया जाता है जैसे किसी बैल को वध करने के लिए ले जाया जाता है। इसलिए संसार मृत्यु और जीर्षता से पीड़ित है, इसलिए बुद्धिमान लोग संसार की सीमाओं का ज्ञान रखते हुए दुःख प्रकट नहीं करते हैं।"
न तो रोने से और न ही दुःखी होने से किसी व्यक्ति को मन की शांति मिलती है, बल्कि इसके विपरीत उसकी पीड़ा और बढ़ जाती है और उसका शरीर पीड़ित होता है। यह स्वयं को बीमार और कमजोर बना लेता है, फिर भी उसके विताप करने से मृत को नहीं बचाया जा सकता है। यह जिसे शांति चाहिए होता है उसे वित्ताप करने, शिकायत करने और दुःखी होने के तीर को निकाल बाहर फेंक देना चाहिए। यह जिसने इस तीर को बाहर निकाल लिया है और शांत हो गया है उसे मन की शांति मिलेगी। वह जिसने सारे दुःखों पर काबू पा लिया है, वह सारे दुःखों से मुक्त हो जाएगा और भगवान का आशीर्वाद प्राप्त करेगा।"
(Page 133) Gautama Buddha (563 B.C.-483 B.C.) began life as a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, in northern India. At twelve, he was sent away for schooling in the Hindu sacred scriptures and four years later he returned home to marry a princess. They had a son and lived for ten years as befitted royalty. At about the age of twenty-five, the prince, heretofore shielded from the sufferings of the world, while out hunting chanced upon a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession, and finally a monk begging for alms. These sights so moved him that he at once became a beggar and went out into the world to seek enlightenment concerning the sorrows he had witnessed.
Q1. Name the chapter and its author.
A. 1. The name of the chapter is The Sermon at Benares and its author is Betty Rensha
Q2. Who studied the holy books in the passage?
A. Siddhartha Gautama,
Q3. At what age was he married?
A. He was married at sixteen.
Q4. When did he see a sick and old man?
A. At about the age of twenty-five
Q5. Find from the passage words which mean the same as: (1) pious
(ii) religious books.
At about the age of twenty-five, the prince, heretofore, shielded from the sufferings of the world, while out hunting chanced upon a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession, and finally a monk begging for alms. These sights so moved him that he at once became a beggar and went out into the world to seek enlightenment concerning the sorrows he had witnessed. He wandered for seven years and finally sat down under a fig tree, where he vowed to stay until enlightenment came. Enlightened after seven days, he renamed the tree the Bo Tree (Tree of Wisdom) and began to teach and to share his new understandings.
Q1. Who is the prince mentioned here?
A. The Prince is Siddhartha Gautama.
Q2. Mention any two sights which moved the.
A. The sight of a sick man and of an aged man and then the sight of a funeral procession moved the prince.
Q3. What was the prince’s vow?
A. He vowed to stay under the fig tree until enlightenment came to him.
Q4. What did he do after he became enlightened?
A. He renamed the tree as the Bo Tree. Then he began to teach and share his new understandings.
Q5. Which word in the passage means the same as a state of high spiritual knowledge?
The Buddha said, "The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. For there is not any means by which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature are living beings. As tipe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death."
1. What did the Buddha say about the life of mortals?
2. What did he say about avoiding death?
3. What did he compare human beings with?
4. What is everyone subject to?
5. Give the opposites of: (1) mortal (ii) ripe.
See Video Of Exercises of the Chapter
Q.1. What is a sermon? Is it different from a lecture or a talk? Can this
word also be used in a negative way or as a joke (as in "my mother's sermon about getting my
work done on time")?
nature. It is different from a lecture or a talk because a lecture or a talk can be on any subject, while a sermon is on religion or a moral subject. The word 'sermon' can be used in a negative way or as a joke also. In that case it means a taunt, an irony or a sarcasm. For example, "Mohan is always sermonizing on any topic."
Q.2. Find out the meanings of these words and phrases given in the
afflicted with: Afflicted with means to be affected with bodily or mental trouble.
be composed: Be composed means to have control over our mental faculties or to at peace with self.
Desolation: Desolation means a ruined or neglected state.
Lamentation: Lamentation means expressing one's sorrow or grieving.
Procure: Procure means to obtain, to get, to find, etc.
be subject to: Be subject to means to be governed by some rules, etc.
Q.3. Have you heard of the Sermon on the Mount? Who delivered it? Who do you
think delivered a sermon at Benares?
Ans. I think the 'Sermon on the Mount' was delivered by Jesus Christ. 'A Sermon at Benares' was delivered by Gautama Buddha. It was his first sermon after he got Enlightenment.
Q.4. What did the Buddha want Kisa Gotami to understand?
Ans. The Buddha wanted to make her understand that death is the common end of all. There can be no medicine that can bring the dead back to life. The Buddha wanted Kisa Gotami to understand this very fact of life.
Q.5. How did Kisa Gotami come to realise the fact that death is the common end of life?
Ans. The Buddha asked Kisa Gotami to bring a handful of mustard-seed from a house where no death had ever taken place. Kisa Gotami failed to find any such house. Thus, she came to realise that death was the common end of all.
Q.6. Do you think Kisa Gotami was 'selfish in her grief?
Ans. No, we can't say that Kisa Gotami was selfish in her grief. She was only ignorant of a hard reality. In her grief, she had forgotten the fact that the dead can't be brought back to life.
Q.7. With what does the Buddha compare the death and decay of human beings?
Ans. The Buddha compares the death and decay of human beings with ripe fruits and earthen vessels. Ripe fruits are early in danger of falling; so also, mortals ever remain in danger of death. Earthen vessels always end in being broken; so is the case with human beings. Every human being is fated to die in the end.
Q8. Why did the Buddha choose Benares to preach his first sermon?
Ans. The Buddha chose Benares to preach his first sermon because Benares is the holiest of the dipping places on the River Ganges.
Q.9. Write a brief note on Siddhartha Gautama's early life?
Ans. Siddhartha Gautama's early life was spent as a prince in northern India. He was sent away for schooling in the Hindu sacred scriptures at the age of twelve and four years later he returned to marry a princess. They had a son and Siddhartha lived a royal life for ten years with his family. He came out of this shielded life at the age of twenty-five when he went out on a hunting expedition.
Q.10. What prompted Prince Siddhartha to renounce the world?
What scenes made Gautama Buddha seek enlightenment?
Ans: The sights of a sick man, an aged man, a funeral procession and a monk begging for alms so moved Prince Siddhartha that he decided to renounce the world to seek enlightenment.
Q11. Why doesn't death bring grief to the wise? According to the Buddha, why do the wise not
Ans: The wise know that the world is afflicted with decay and death. No one can save a dear one from death. All mortals are carried off by death just like an ox that is led to the slaughter. Knowing the terms of the world, the wise reconcile themselves to death. Hence, death doesn't bring grief to them.
Q.12. How does weeping and grieving affect an individual?
Ans: One would find no peace of mind by weeping and grieving. Instead, it would increase one's pain and make the person sick and pale. Neither would one be able to bring the dead back to life, nor would one find solace for oneself. Instead, the pain would become greater and the body would suffer.
Q.13. How can one become free from sorrow?
Who can obtain the peace of mind?
Ans: In order to become free from sorrow and obtain peace of mind, one will have to draw out the arrow of lamentation, complaint and grief. Such a person will become composed and attain peace of mind. He will overcome all sorrow and be blessed.
Q.14. What message did Buddha's first sermon at Benares give?
Ans: Buddha's first sermon at Benares taught the world about the inevitability of death. It also advised them not to be selfish in one's grief as surrendering all selfishness can lead one to the path of immortality. The path to peace required getting rid of lamentation, complaint and grief. Only those who overcome sorrow become free from it and are blessed.
Q.15. Give in your own words the gist of the first sermon of the Buddha regarding death.
What does the chapter "The Sermon at Benares" teach us about life and death?
What lesson on death and suffering does the Buddha teach Kisa Gotami in the chapter "The Sermon at Benaras"?
What does Buddha say about death and suffering? Explain by giving examples from the text.
Ans: In his first sermon at Benares regarding death, the Buddha says that human life is full of suffering, and that pain and separation are an essential part of life. Anyone who takes birth must necessarily meet his end and there are no means by which one can escape death. Mortals are compared to a fruit, which once ripe, must eventually fall down. The sermon reiterates this fact by referring to the earthen vessel made by the potter. All these vessels eventually get broken.
In the words of Buddha, "... the world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world." Weeping and grieving rob one's peace of mind and lamentation cannot bring back the dead or alleviate pain. In fact, suffering makes the body sick and pale. Therefore, those who seek peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, complaint and grief. Only then can they overcome sorrow and be blessed.
Q16. What solution does the Buddha suggest to get over grief?
Q. According to the Buddha, how can one obtain peace of mind?
Ans: In the Buddha's words, weeping and grieving over the departed lead one nowhere. Rather than giving solace, lamentations add to one's physical and mental pain and make one sick. No amount of lamenting is going to bring the departed ones back. For peace of mind, the needles of lamentation must be pulled out. Death is common to all. It is wrong to be selfish in one's grief. It is only by surrendering all selfishness that one finds the path that leads to immortality. In order to get composure, one must overcome grief and become free from sorrow and achieve His blessings. Indirectly, the Buddha wants man to live like a stoic, who always remains indifferent to pain or pleasure.
Q.17. When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house? What does she ask for? Does she
get it? Why not?
Ans: After the death of her only son, Kisa Gotami was overcome with grief. She carried the dead body of her son in her arms and went from door to door asking for medicine, wonder drug to bring her son back to life, but nobody could provide any medicine. For there is no such medicine available which can bring a dead person back to life.
Q.18. Kisa Gotami again goes from house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she
ask for? Does she get it? Why not?
Ans: Gautama Buddha asks Kisa to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a house where death had never knocked at the door. Kisa Gotami went from door to door, but couldn’t find a single house where death had not taken a beloved away. She could not get it as death is inevitable and anyone who is born is bound to die one day.
Q.19. What does Kisa Gotami understand the second time that she failed to understand the first
time? Was this what Buddha wanted her to understand?
Ans: After failing to procure a handful of mustard seeds from a house where death had never knocked at the door, she sat down by the roadside feeling weary, helpless. She saw the lights of the city that flickered and were extinguished. At last, it was darkness everywhere. She came to know of life and death.
She realised that death was common to all and she was being selfish in her grief. Yes, this is what Buddha wanted her to understand, that everyone who is born has to die one day.
Q20. Why did Prince Siddhartha leave the palace and become a beggar?
Ans: Never knew about sorrow being prince, once Prince Siddhartha, while hunting saw a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession and finally a monk begging for alms. He was moved by these sights. He realised that world is full of sorrow. He left behind all the worldly pleasures and the materialistic world to seek enlightenment. After Buddha got enlightenment, he preached the people about truth, life, and death. He spread the reality that death is an inevitable part of life.
Q.21. What do you know about the early life of Buddha?
Ans: 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 later he got married to a princess.
Q.22. How did Kisa Gotami realise that life and death is a process?
Ans: Kisa Gotami went from house to house but was unable to find one house where nobody had died. She was tired and hopeless and sat down at the wayside watching the lights of the city as they flickered up and were extinguished again. She realised that similar to the city lights human lives also flicker up for some time and are extinguished again. There she realized that life and death is a process.
Q.23. What did the Buddha want to explain to Kisa Gotami?
Ans: The Buddha wanted to explain to Kisa Gotami that man cannot get peace of mind by grieving. On the contrary, his pain will be greater and his body will suffer. He will make himself sick and pale. A man who overcomes all sorrows will be free from sorrow and will be blessed.
Q.24. Life is full of trials and tribulations. Kisa Gotami also passes through a period of grief
in her life. How does she behave in those circumstances?
Ans: After the death of Kisa Goutami’s only child, she became helpless and devastated. She carried her dead child to her neighbours in order to get medicine to bring him to life. When she met Gautama Buddha, he sent her on an errand to collect mustard seeds from a house where no one has ever died. He instilled this condition. She went from one house to another but was unable to find a single house where no one has died. The poor Iady realised the important lesson which Buddha wanted to teach her. Death comes to every family. No matter how dear someone is to us death will come sooner or later to part us. Life is filled with trials and tribulations, suffering and death. Mortal human beings must face suffering and death sooner or later. This is an inescapable fact of life. Real wisdom is to accept the inevitable and continue the journey of life without allowing grief to defeat us or overwhelm us.
Q.25. Personal losses are a part and parcel of life. Instead of wailing on them, we should move
on in life. This message of Gautama Buddha has become more relevant in modern times. Do you
agree? Why /why not?
Ans: Yes, I agree with the message that Gautama Buddha has given about life. In the modem times, people have a lot to explore and move with the world at the same pace. If people don’t understand the practicality of life, they will be under stress which would in turn affects, their personal and professional lives. People need to understand that everyone who is born will have to die one day. There is no use being sad or crying over the loss. People should remain calm and composed in such situations. They should face the truth and move on in life.
See Video for MCQs of the Chapter