The Sermon at Benares

Question 9
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Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.
“Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations. Mark! while relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter.

1. Can a father or a kinsman stop the death of any human?
2. How are the humans carried off?
3. How are the humans carried off?




Solution

1. No, neither a father nor a kinsman can stop the death of any human. It is a natural process. It can’t be stopped.
2. The humans are carried off like an ox that is led to the slaughter.
3. Slaughter.

Question 10
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Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow:
So the world is afflicted 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.

1. Why do wise people do not grieve when there is a death?
2. Can our weeping or grieving have any benefit?
3. Given the meaning of the word ‘lamentation’.



 




Solution

1. The wise people do not grieve when there is a death because they know it is the law of nature and none can prevent death taking place.
2. Our weeping and grieving can not have any benefit. On the contrary it will make a person sick and pale.
3. Expression of grief. 

Question 11
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Kisa Gotami again goes from house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she ask for, the second time around? Does she get it? Why not?

Solution

Following the Buddha's instructions, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house asking for a handful of mustard seeds. She is unable to find a house where no one had ever died. So, she became weary and hopeless. 

Question 12
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How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was being ‘selfish in her grief ’?

Solution

When we are concerned excessively with ourselves without having a regard for others, we tend to be selfish.
Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless after she was unable to get a handful of mustard that could save her son. Sitting at the wayside all alone and seeing the darkness engulfing the place, she realised the truth about the destiny of human beings. She had understood that death is common to all and no one can escape it. She also realized that she was being selfish in her grief. She had inflicted pain on others by reminding them of their grief. She had been thinking about just her son and her grief. 

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