Question: 1

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

2.    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?

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

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

5.    How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that shewas being ‘selfish in her grief ‘?

Answer: 1

1.    Kisa Gotami’s had only one son and he died. In her grief she went from house to house carrying her dead child asking me f she could get some medicine that would cure her child. No, she did not get it because her child was dead and no medicine could bring him back to life.

2.    Someone told her about a person who could her the medicine. He asked her to go to Sakyamuni. There she met the Budha. When she met the Buddha, he asked her to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. She immediately agreed to his demand. She went from house to house. People were ready to help her by giving mustard seeds but she could not get the mustard seeds because there was not a single house where no one had died in the family.

3.    After listening to everybody’s grief Kisa Gotami realised and understood that death is common to all and she was being selfish in her grief. There was no house where some beloved had not died. Yes, this was what the Buddha wanted her to understand.

4.    Kisa Gotami understood that death is common to all and that she was being selfish in her grief. She understood this only the second time because it was then that she found that there was not a single house where some beloved had not died.Initially she went from house to house in her neighbourho od asking them for help. She was only thinking about her grief and asking for a medicine that would cure her dead son.

When she met the Buddha, he asked her to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house where no one had died. He did this purposely to make her realize that there was not a single house where no beloved had died, and that death is natural. When she went to all the houses the second time, she realized that she could not gather the mustard seeds because there was no house where a beloved had not died. Then, when she sat and thought about it, she realized that the fate of men is such that they live and die. Death is common to all. This was what the Buddha had intended her to understand.

5.    Selfishness is preoccupation with me, me and me. Kisa Gotami was not in a position to think about other people’s grief. It is natural to feel sad over death of near and dear ones. But most people carry on their next responsibility of performing proper last rites of the dead. People seldom carry a dead body in the hope of some miracle happening to that. The family and the society always comes to be with those in hours of grief. But later on the life goes on. But Kisa Gotami was so engrossed in her sorrow that she forgot to think about live members of her family and society.

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