The Sermon at Benares Extra Questions
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The Sermon at Benares Extra Questions

Betty Renshaw was the author of several books, including Values and Voices. In this chapter, he provides a detailed account of Lord Buddha’s early life. He was born into a royal family as a prince. The sufferings of the world made it necessary for him to renounce his princely status. As a result, he sought salvation. Therefore, he renounced all worldly pleasures as a consequence of this experience. As a matter of fact, shortly after he achieved spiritual awakening, he delivered his first sermon in the city of Benares. The fact that men are mortal was explained to a lady named Kisa Gotami by him. Furthermore, a wise individual does not grieve over unavoidable events, and this is also something that ought to be noted. In fact, it only adds to the suffering of those who are affected by it.It is imperative for class 10 students to prepare the Sermon at Benares extra questions, as this chapter throws light on the preachings of Lord Buddha that have deep-rooted meanings in our lives.

The Sermon at Benares Extra Questions

1. How did Gautama came to be known as the Buddha?

Answer: Siddhartha Gautama wandered for seven years and finally sat down under a Peepal tree till he got enlightenment. After seven days of enlightenment, he renamed the ‘Bodhi Tree’ and began to teach and to share his new understanding and came to be known as the Buddha.

2. What did he say about life of mortals?

Answer: Buddha said that all mortals have to die.

3. What was the effect of the sufferings of the world on Buddha?

Answer: At the age of 25, while hunting, one day Buddha saw a sick man, then an aged man, then a funeral procession and finally a monk begging for alms. These moved him so much that he went out into the world to seek enlightenment.

4. Mention the incident which prompted Prince Siddhartha to become a beggar ?

Answer: Once Prince Siddhartha had gone for hunting where he came across a sick man, an aged man, a monk asking for alms and also witnessed a funeral procession. Unable to understand those sufferings, he became a beggar and went in search of spiritual knowledge.

5. How did Buddha teach Kisa Gotami the truth of life ?

Answer: Kisa Gotami was devastated by the death of her only son and wandered door to door, seeking help. Someone directed her to Sakyamuni, the Buddha, who asked her to bring a handful of mustard seeds. This raised a hope in Gotami’s heart that her son could be revived. But the condition imposed by Sakyamuni was that the seeds should be from a house where people had not lost a loved one to death. Kisa Gotami’s futile search made her realize the bitter truth that sorrows are a part and parcel of life and one can attain peace only by acceptance.

6. How long did Gautama wander in search of wisdom?

Answer: He wandered for seven years in search of wisdom.

7. Describe the life of Gautama Buddha before enlightenment.

Answer: Buddha was earlier a prince and lived in luxury. When he encountered suffering and grief, it made him sad and sorrowful. He renounced everything and went in search of riddance from suffering. He wandered for seven years. Then, one day, he sat under a fig tree and vowed not to leave until he was enlightened.

8. Mention the incidents which prompted Prince Siddharth to become a beggar. 

Answer: Siddhartha while going for hunting saw a sick man, a funeral procession and a monk begging. This was his first encounter with suffering and grief. It made him sad and he immediately renounced everything. 

9. What did the Buddha want Kisa Gotami to understand?

Answer: The Buddha wanted Kisa Gitami to understand that all men and women are mortals. And all mortals are destined to die. No lamentation and grieving can bring a dead person back to life. Therefore, she should stop lamenting and grieving the death of her son. Overcoming the sorrows makes a person free from sorrows. 

10. How can death be considered an equalizer?

Answer: Death ends suffering for the person. It is the ultimate truth because everyone has to die one day. It ends all the materialistic needs and wants of a soul. So, we can call it an equalizer.

11. What did Kisa Gotami do after the Buddha had asked her for a handful of mustard seed? 

Answer: Kisa Gotami went from house to house to get a handful of mustard seed. People gave her the mustard seed. But when she asked if anyone had died in their family, they regretfully told her that the livings were few, but the deads were many. Kisa Gotami found no house where someone had not died.  

12. Why did people think that Kisa had become mad?

Answer: Kisa Gotami’s only son had died. She was not ready to accept the fact that once a mortal dies, he/she cannot be brought back to life. She went to her neighbours with her dead son to get some medicines to bring him back to life. People thought that Kisa had gone mad.

13. How did Buddha teach Kisa Gotami the truth of life?

Answer: Kisa Gotami was devastated by the death of her only son and wandered door to door, seeking help. Someone directed her to Sakyamuni, the Buddha, who asked her to bring a handful of mustard seeds. This raised a hope in Gotami’s heart that her son could be revived. But the condition imposed by Sakyamuni was that the seeds should be from a house where people had not lost a loved one to death. Kisa Gotami’s futile search made her realize the bitter truth that sorrows are a part and parcel of life and one can attain peace only by acceptance.

14. When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? If not, why?

Answer: When Kisa Gotami’s only son dies, she goes from house to house asking for some medicine to revive her dead son. However, she does not get it because there is no medicine that can bring the dead to life again. 

15. How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was being ‘selfish in her grief’?

Answer: ‘ Selfishness’ means being concerned only about one’s own interests and showing complete disregard for others welfare. Yes, it can be said that Kisa Gotami was being ‘selfish in grief’/ In the light of her tragedy, she was unable to see that death is something that strikes all things living. In this sense, she was selfish. However, for every person, his/her tragedy is something personal and it prevents him/her from looking at the tragedy from a universal or general point of view. If we take the usual sense of the word ‘selfish’, then calling Kisa Gotami selfish would be inappropriate, because every person becomes selfish in his/her grief.