Detailed explanation of “The Sermon at Benares”, including definitions of difficult words. In addition, the explanation is followed by a lesson summary. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Chapter and do well in their exams.
The Sermon at Benares’ is a chapter written by Betty Renshaw. The chapter covers the journey of Gautam Buddha from princehood to his saintly life. After seeing the suffering of the world, he decided to give up all worldly pleasures and sought enlightenment. He finally attained salvation under a tree at Bodhgaya.
Gautama Buddha was born in 563 B.C. He was born in a royal family, 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 led a happy life. Until now, Siddhartha had been shielded from the sufferings 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 spread his message of wisdom and truth. Buddha gave his first sermon at Benares. It is one of the holiest dipping places on the banks of the river Ganges. His first sermon reflects his wisdom about one inscrutable kind of suffering i.e. death. Here, the Buddha tells 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 needed some medicine to bring her son back 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 live again. After deep thought, the Buddha asked her to bring a handful of mustard seeds. But there was a condition. She must bring it from a house where no one had died ever. Kisa Gotami went from door-to door to get the mustard seeds. She found mustard seeds in every home, but she could not find a home where nobody had died. By evening, she was sad and tired. She saw the lights of the city. Soon there was the darkness of the night. Exhausted, she considered the fate of man. 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 ber 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 one day. Death spares none. Everyone grieves when someone dear dies. But grieving cannot bring the dead back to life. So, death and sufferings are unavoidable. The wise people 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.
|scriptures||the holy writings of a religion|
|alms||money or food given to poor people|
|enlightenment||a state of high spiritual knowledge|
|wandered||moved in a leisurely or aimless way|
|vowed||a serious promise to do something|
|chanced upon||came across by chance|
|sermon||a talk on a religious or moral subject|
|inscrutable||impossible to understand or interpret|
|valley of desolation||place filled with deep sorrow|
|mortals||those bound to die|
|earthen||made of baked or fired clay|
|lamenting||expressing sorrow, regret or
unhappiness about something
|slaughter||the killing of animals for their meat|
|weary||feeling or showing extreme tiredness|