The Sermon at Benares Questions and Answers Class 10

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English First Flight Chapter 8 present the profound discourse of “The Sermon at Benares.” These solutions offer in-depth answers to the chapter’s questions, allowing students to delve into the teachings of Buddha and the essence of his first sermon. Through these answers, students can understand the core principles of Buddhism.

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English First Flight Chapter 8 The Sermon at Benares Questions and Answers

Thinking about the Text

Q1. When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house? What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?

Ans. Kisa Gotami was overcome with grief and went from house to house asking for medicine that would bring her son back to life. None of the neighbours was in a position to help her as there is no medicine that could make a dead person alive.

Q2. Kisa Gotami again goes from house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?

Ans. After speaking with the Buddha, Kisa Gotami went from house to house again but this time she asked for a handful of mustard seeds. No, she could not get the mustard seeds because she had to get the seeds from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent or friend. She tried her best but could not find a house where they had not lost a family member.

Q3. What does Kisa Gotami understand the second time that she failed to understand the first time? Was this what Buddha wanted her to understand?

Ans. Kisa Gotami realised that death is inevitable and a reality that all have to face. She realised that she was being very selfish in wanting immortality for her son. Yes, the Buddha sent her looking for mustard seeds from a house where they had not experienced bereavement to make Kisa realise that everybody had lost a loved one at some point in life.

Q4. Why do you think Kisa Gotami understood this only the second time? In what way did Buddha change her understanding?

Ans. Earlier, she could see only her grief. When she went from door to door the second time, she understood that everyone was dealing with the loss of a beloved one. There was not a single house in the town, where death had not taken a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a son or a daughter. Everyone, at some point or the other, has experienced the death of their loved one. Gautama Buddha helped her to understand all this, as he told her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a house where death had never knocked at the door. This way she became aware that death is common to all human beings.

Q5. How do you usually understand the idea of selfishness? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was being selfish in her grief?

Ans. Selfishness describes a state in which a person is unable to think beyond himself. Yes, Kisa was right in realising that she was being selfish because she was so overcome with grief that she was unable to think clearly and only wanted her son to come back to life. Her grief felt so profound that she failed to see that all people have experienced the grief of losing a loved one.

Thinking about Language

I. This text is written in an old-fashioned style, for it reports an incident more than two millennia old. Look for the following words and phrases in the text, and try to rephrase them in more current language, based on how you understand them.

  • give thee medicine for thy child
  • Pray tell me
  • Kisa repaired to the Buddha
  • there was no house but someone had died in it
  • kinsmen
  • Mark!

Ans. I : (i) Give you medicine for your child

(ii) Please tell me

(iii) Kisa went to the Buddha

(iv) There was not a single house where no one had to die

(v) Relatives

(vi) Listen

II. You know that we can combine sentences using words like and, or, but, yet and then. But sometimes no such word seems appropriate. In such a case we can use a semicolon (:) or a dash (-) to combine two clauses.

She has no interest in music : I doubt she will become a singer like her mother.

The second clause here gives the speaker’s opinion on the first clause.

Here is a sentence from the text that uses semicolons to combine clauses. Break up the sentence into three simple sentences. Can you then say which has a better rhythm when you read it, the single sentence using semicolons, or the three simple sentences?

For there is not any means by which those who have been born can avoid dying: after reaching old age there is death: of such a nature are living beings.

Ans. II: • There is not any means by which those who have been born can avoid dying.

• There is death after reaching old age.

• Living beings are of such a nature.

A single sentence using semicolons has a better rhythm. This implies that the three parts of the sentence are connected to each other in their meanings. The second clause gives detailed information about the first clause. The third clause is, therefore, directly related to both the first and the second clauses. Their meanings are conveyed in a better way when they are joined by semicolons.


The Buddha’s sermon is over 2500 years old. Given below are two recent texts on the topic of grief. Read the texts, comparing them with each other and with the Buddha’s sermon. Do you think the Buddha’s ideas and way of teaching continue to hold meaning for us? Or have we found better ways to deal with grief? Discuss this in groups or in class.

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