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About The Author
The Sermon at Benares: Betty Renstaw’s was an American writer. She was born of October. 2, 1921 in the Renstaw family. She died on April 30, 1999, at the age of 77
Sermon At Benares’ is the story of an unfortunate woman Kisa Gotami. She had lost her only one. In her grief, she carried the dead body of her son from one place to another. In the end, she came to Lord Buddha. She needed the medicine that could cure her son. The Buddha asked her to bring him a handful of mustard seed from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent or friend.
Kisa Goutami didn’t find a house where some beloved one had not died in it. She thought to herself that it was the fate of mankind. Death was inevitable. Nobody can avoid dying. The world is afflicted with death and decay. The wise don’t grieve. `He who has overcome all soon will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.
Gautama Buddha was born in 563 B.C. He was born into a royal family. He was 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 passed a happy life.
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 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 peepal 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’ which is ‘The tree of wisdom. He became known as ‘the Buddha’ which means ‘enlightened’ or ‘the awakened. He
began to teach and to spread his message of wisdom and truth.
He became known as the Buddha (the enlightened) Buddha gave his first sermon at Benares. It is the holiest of places on the bank of the 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 her child should become alive again. She wanted 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 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.
Kisa Gotami went from door to door to get the mustard seed. 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 everywhere. Now she considered the fate of man. Now she realized that death is inevitable. No one can escape it. Death is a must for all. It spares none.
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She came back to the Buddha and asked for his blessings. The Buddha in his sermon told her
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. Death spares none. A father cannot save his son.
Everyone grieves when someone dear dies. But grieving cannot bring the dead back to life. So death and sufferings are unavoidable. The wise persons 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 learned to control his grief shall have peace of mind. That person is blessed, and has overcome his sorrow.
Additional Summary Of The Sermon at Benares:
Budda’s Early Life
Gautama Buddha (563 B.C. — 483 B.C.) was born as a prince. He was named Siddhartha Gautama. At the age of ten, he was sent away for schooling. He studied Hindu sacred scriptures. He was married to a princess at the age of sixteen. He had a son. Ten years of his married life were spent in royal luxuries. At the age of 25, he chanced upon a sick man, then an aged man, and then a funeral procession. Finally, he saw a monk begging for alms.
These sights moved him. He gave up the luxuries of royal life. He set out in search of enlightenment. After wandering for seven years, finally, he meditated under a g tree. Enlightened after seven days, he renamed the tree the Bodhi Tree. It was the Tree of Wisdom. He became known as the Buddha — the Awakened or the Enlightened one. The Buddha preached his first sermon at Benares, the holy city on the Ganges.
Kisa Gotami Only Son Died :
Kisa Gotami’s only son had died. She was deeply grieved. She carried her dead son to all her
neighbors. She asked them for medicine. The people thought that she had lost her senses. At last, a man advised her to go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha. She went to him and requested to give some medicine that could bring back life to her son.
Focus Points Of The Sermon at Benares:
- Gautama Buddha was born a prince. He was named Siddhartha Gautama.
- He was married at the age of sixteen and enjoyed royal luxuries for ten years.
- He had a son. Up to the age of twenty-five, he was shielded from the sufferings of the world.
- The sight of a sick man, then an aged man, and a funeral procession shocked him.
- Finally, he saw a monk begging for alms.
- He gave up royal pleasures and set out to seek enlightenment.
- He wandered for seven years and finally sat down under a big tree in meditation.
- Enlightenment came to him after seven days.
- He named the big tree the Bodhi Tree or Tree of Wisdom.
- He was known as the Buddha or the Awakened or the enlightened one.
- The Buddha preached his first sermon at the holy city of Benares on the River Ganges.
- Kisa Gotami’s only son had died.
- She had lost her senses and carried the dead boy to all her neighbors.
- She asked them for medicines to cure him.
- She prayed the Buddha to give such medicine that night to cure her son.
- The Buddha asked Kisa Gotami to bring a handful of mustard seeds.
- She went from house to house and had no problem getting a handful of mustard seeds.
However, she did have a problem with finding a house where no one had died
- She considered the fate of men and realized that she was selfish in grief.
- Death is common to all.
- Surrendering all selfishness leads to immortality.
- All earthen pots end in being broken.
- The world is afflicted with death and decay.
- He who has overcome all sorrows Will become a blessed and enlightened.
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