CBSE Class 10 English The Sermon at Benares Assignment

The Sermon at Benares 

INTRODUCTION—
‘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.

SUMMARY—
Gautam Buddha (563 B.C to 483 B.C) was a prince. His parents had named him Siddhartha Gautama.He had been shielded from the sufferings of the world. At the age of twenty five he saw a sick man, an aged man and a dead man. He also saw an ascetic begging for alms. Unable to understand that, he went in search of spiritual knowledge.
After wandering for seven years, he sat under a Peepal tree and vowed that he would stay there until he got enlightenment. He got that after a week and named the tree as ‘Tree of Wisdom’. He himself came to be known as Buddha.
He gave his first sermon at Benares. This sermon contained ten important points. These points were conveyed through the story about Kisa Gotami whose only son had died. She went to people asking medicine for him. At last a man told her to go to Buddha, the Sakyamuni.
Buddha told her that he would cure her son if she brought some mustard seeds from a house where no death had taken place. Kisa went from house to house but was unable to find one where no death had been seen.
She finally realised that death was common to all and no one could avoid dying. No one can save their relatives. People weep over their dead ones. It is only the wise who do not grieve as they have accepted the truth.
If a person weeps, his sufferings only become greater. Those who do not grieve have peace of mind and will overcome sorrow.

Extract Based Questions 

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow :

1. 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.

Question. He who seeks ____________ should draw out the arrow of lamentation, complaint and grief.
(i) solitude
(ii) knowledge
(iii) worldly pleasures
(iv) peace
Answer. (iv) peace


Question. What does ‘lamentation’ mean?

(i) weeping
(ii) repenting
(iii) feeling sorry
(iv) analysing
Answer.(i) weeping


Question. The speaker of these lines is _____________.

(i) Sant Kabirdas
(ii) Gautama Buddha
(iii) Lord Mahavira
(iv) Sant Surdas
Answer.(ii) Gautama Buddha


Question. He who has overcome all sorrows will become free from sorrows and be ____________.

(i) blessed
(ii) rewarded
(iii) awarded
(iv) protected
Answer.(i) blessed 

 

2. At twelve, he was sent away for schooling in the Hindu sacred scriptures and 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 going out on 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.

Question. For how many years he lived in befitted royalty ?
(i) 5 years
(ii) 15 years
(iii) 10 years
(iv) 12 years
Answer.(iii) 10 years


Question. At what age Gautam was sent away for schooling ?

(i) thirteen
(ii) twelve
(iii) eleven
(iv) fourteen
Answer. (ii) twelve


Question. Find a word from the passage that means the same as ‘holy’.

(i) sacred
(ii) befitted
(iii) shielded
(iv) royalty
Answer.(i) sacred


Question. Who was begging for alms ?

(i) a beggar
(ii) an old lady
(iii) a monk
(iv) a poor child
Answer.(iii) a monk 

 

3. 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 at certain 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.

Question. Which fruit fears falling down ?
(i) ripe
(ii) unripe
(iii) semi-ripe
(iv) completely unripe
Answer. (i) ripe


Question. One whose life is troubled, brief and combined with pain ?

(i) immortal
(ii) plants
(iii) rocks
(iv) mortal
Answer.(iv) mortal


Question. Find the word from the passage that means ‘living beings who have to die’.

(i) troubled
(ii) enlightenment
(iii) mortals
(iv) scriptures
Answer.(iii) mortals


Question. What is natural ?

(i) death
(ii) life
(iii) living style
(iv) nature
Answer.(i) death

 

Short Answer Type Questions  

Question. Who was Gautama Buddha ? When and where was he born ? 
Ans. Gautama Buddha was a Prince who was named Siddhartha Gautam by his parents. He was born in 563 B.C. in North India. He had been shielded from the sufferings of the world. He attained enlightenment under a Peepal tree and named the tree as ‘Tree of Wisdom’.


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

Ans. 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.


Question. What did the Buddha do after he had attained enlightenment ? Why ?

Ans.Prince Siddhartha Gautama was deeply pained by the sufferings he saw around him and left house to seek the truth of life. After wandering for seven years, he finally sat under Peepal tree to meditate till he received the enlightenment. Wisdom of the law that governs the cycle of birth and death dawned on him and ‘The Buddha’ set out to share it with the world to relieve the mortals of their sufferings.


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

Ans. 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.

 

Long Answer Type Questions 

Question. How do you usually understand the idea of selfishness ? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was ‘selfish’ on her grief ? Is it natural for people to be selfish at times ?
Ans. ‘Selfishness’ means when a person does something only for his own benefit or thinks only about himself/ herself. Kisa Gotami was selfish in wanting her dead son to be alive. It was a mother’s love which had blinded her. She was wrong in wanting that. She could not see the reality of life. It is perfectly natural for anyone to be selfish at times. When this desire becomes harmful to others or the demands become unrealistic, it is wrong. A little bit of selfishness is there in generally everyone and it is natural to be so. As all earthern vessels made by a Potter breaks in the end, so is the life of the mortals. All are subject to death. We should accept this fact.


Question. How does Gautam Buddha make the human beings realize that death is common to all ?

Ans.  In his first sermon, Buddha makes the human being realise that death is common to all. It is true that human life is full of troubles and grief. After the death of the loved one, one’s feelings are combined with pain. But life can’t stop here. Death is inevitable. It cannot be avoided. So in such adverse situations, there is no use of crying and mourning. If we accept this universal truth of inevitable death, it will not only lessen the pain but also help us to tackle the situation. 

 


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