The Sermon at Benares Class 10 Notes


This story tells us about the life of Gautam Buddha. He was born into a royal family. When he was twelve years old he was sent for schooling. After some time he got married to Yashodhara, a princess, and had a son. When he was twenty-five years old, he went hunting. On his way, he saw the ultimate truths of life, i.e. a sick man, an old man, a funeral procession, and a monk begging for the alms. These sights moved him a lot and he left his house in search of the ultimate truth. He became a monk and went here and there in search of enlightenment. Buddha kept wandering for seven long years but all in vain. Finally, he sat under a fig tree and started meditation there. After seven days he got enlightenment. Then he renamed that fig tree as Bo-Tree, i.e. tree of wisdom.

He started preaching the knowledge that he had attained. He preached his first sermon at Benares near the bank of the holy river Ganges. That sermon is preserved and is given here. There was a lady named Kisa Gotami. Her only son died. In deep grief, she urged the people to give her the medicine that could cure his dead son but all in vain. Somebody told her that only Buddha can cure his dead son. Then she went to Buddha and prayed to him to cure her dead son. Then Buddha thought for some time and in order to make her realize the ultimate truth, asked her to bring some mustard seeds. Kisa Gotami agreed happily. But then he asked her to procure the seeds from only that house where no one had ever died. She went from door to door but could not find even a single house to fulfill the condition. Then she came to know that death is common to all and is the ultimate truth. One who is born is bound to die. She repented of her being so selfish in her grief. Then Buddha preached that life in this mortal world is full of sorrows. All creatures once born will die one day just like all the pots made by the potter end up being broken. Therefore, the wise do not grieve on death as they know the terms of the world. Thus, one who has overcome his grief and lamentation can obtain peace of mind and will be blessed.

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