Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) Research Paper
My Interest in the Subject
As far as theology is concerned, it is of paramount importance to learn and be informed about the past, knowing how the then people believed in the traditional activities. Therefore, since my early childhood, I have yeaned to pursue a course in theology and religious studies to build a strong foundation of understanding how the things people believe in came to be.
I was particularly interested in studying Siddhartha Gautama to find out why he is recognized and respected in the Buddhist religion. Furthermore, I became interested in this study because I really wanted to acquaint myself with his historical background and where he gained his respect and powers and how he came to be an important icon in the Buddhism faith. Therefore, there are many reasons that pushed me to have interest in this study.
Apart form the above, I wanted to gain information to act as a teacher by informing other people about the person airing out their doubts so that they are able to get the real facts about who Siddhartha Gautama was and why he was a prominent person in the Buddhism religion.
Conducting of the Research
There exist various researches, which one can use to gather information about various issues, which seem difficult to understand about this subject. In this case, I used various kinds of methods in gathering my information.
To get accurate information concerning Gautama Siddhartha as well as his origin, I used secondary data as my first source. In this method, I gathered information from the previous work done by early researchers about Gautama Siddhartha. For instance, I visited libraries specifically the section of religious studies and theology. I searched various books of theology that talk about the Buddhism.
From them, I was able to get some information about him: how he came about, his life history, how he grew and became a holy respected person in the Buddhism faith. Furthermore, I also went to the archives and studied on the historical information about the religion and theology.
I was in a position to gather vital information about him. Furthermore, I also went through periodicals and encyclopedias, which provided me with more information. The internet too provided me with a lot of information about Gautama.
There were various sites on the web, which had information about Siddhartha Gautama. For instance, I was able to get more information about his history. This title referred to as Buddha in the Buddhism context awakened or rather enlightened me on the origin of Buddhism as among the various religions. This information appeared in various sites on the internet and from reading a variety of books and archives about religion and theology.
Apart from secondary data, more information was also obtained from primary sources for instance, through interviews with some of the old people of the Buddhism society, who had information about who the person was and what the meaning of the title was and how he was seen in the Buddhism religion.
After receiving information from the varied sources, I combined and synthesized it. This information from the researches was able to provide me with a broad insight about how Gautama Siddhartha came into being: his birth, his vicissitudes in life for instance, how he was able to deal with the depression kind of life and how he used to live up to the level he accomplished, as prophesized by Ben.
The information therefore provided me with a clear insight of the whole issues surrounding him.
For instance, Buddha is known as Siddhartha Gautama and was born in the year 565 BC at the place called Lumbini, which is now called Nepal. Furthermore, other information about Gautama was a descendant of Gautama who had specific aims and objectives he wanted to achieve. Some of the achievements or aims were to achieving the aims.
The Buddhism believes Gautama Siddhartha, commonly known as Shakyamuni that he was to be born in the current era to bring salvation and save the world from the evils. Therefore, in the Buddhist traditions, Gautama Siddhartha lived hundreds of years before coming to the world and therefore he had fulfilled the Ten Paramitas. However, I learnt several things from the subject.
The meaning of Gautama Siddhartha became clear to me. It refers to an awakened one or an enlightened person, who takes the place of god in the Buddhism religion. This title acknowledges the fact that Gautama was a different kind of person who was to provide limelight to the people and save them from their wrongs and evils (Bechert 23).
However, he was not there in the beginning as O’Brien points out. He was born in the year 565 B C in the place known as Lumbini (O’Brien Para. 3). His life was full of depressions. He studied two major disciples’ enlightenment, which consisted of austerities and mediation.
For instance, in his study of mediation he was under the teachers by the name Uddaka-Ramaputta and Alara Akaalama. The teachers attained various states with Alara as he attained a much higher formless world in which there was no existence of physical matter. On the other side Uddaka, he managed to reach higher state where there was no existence of thought.
Siddhartha easily attained all these states without encountering any problem or difficulty. However, these achievements were only insignificant to his life since they could not help him overcome his psychological worries, explaining the reason as to why he resumed his depression. Surprising enough, he was aware that for him to live as per his wishes, he needed to free himself from the prevailing mental problems. Therefore, he could not go on with the teaching and left his teachers to proceed into finding the truths (O’Brien Para. 5).
Therefore, he practiced asceticism, a observance which was known to be practiced by the Samanas who believed that any human suffering was merely attached to the physical body of person and his mental spirit and that the only way the suffering could be freed was by detaching or separating the spirit which was imposed by the body.
Therefore relying on these beliefs, tormenting weakens the body in order to overpower it against the mental spirit (Armstrong 45). Therefore, Siddhartha went to the Ureva town and camped at the grove trees in order to find enlightenment. While in the place, he went thorough austerities for a period of 6 years, which saw him become weak and skinny because of difficult life situations.
After undergoing these difficulties he was brought a bowl of rice and milk by Sugata which he ate and recovered his strength and began a new life. This suffering “…made him to realize the secrets to true happiness and peace and the four noble’s truths” (O’Brien Para. 7). His four noble truths included the noble truth of suffering, arising of suffering, cessation of suffering and lastly, the path leading to the cessation of suffering (Hennaed Para.7).
In the noble truth of suffering, suffering consists of people’s old age, sorrow lamentation, disease, pain, death, grieves which is associated with those objects that human being do not like, therefore being unable to obtain those things that one desires results to suffering. Although there exists various moments of happiness, these moments do not last for a long time but instead last for a short time as opposed to the suffering.
The noble truth of the arising of suffering holds that suffering has some origin, for instance, from the time people are born, they begin craving for those things that makes them feel comfortable and happy. For instance, they have lust, sensual cravings, cravings to become wealthy and to command power, cravings for illusions and dreams among other cravings. All these cravings mark the beginning of suffering that people normally encounter in their life (George Para. 6).
The noble truth of cessation of suffering holds that one can control the suffering that people face and therefore reaching a time that the suffering ceases. This is the time when the cravings fade away, whereby they are detached to it, whereby these cravings are emptied from their minds and thinking.
That is the point whereby one experiences liberation from the sufferings. It therefore stands out that this suffering made him beware of the reality of the world hence making him find the right direction or way to liberation of the humanity from these sufferings hence attaining an eternal happiness.
Therefore, he went back and taught his teachers these nobles, which made him to gain many followers, which went further to witness the gathering of more than 1250 monks with an intention of hearing the teaching of Gautama Siddhartha. A day that has since been designated as the holiday of the Buddhist nations as a day of commemorations.
Inclusion of Personal Interaction
This learning has also equipped me with insights on how certain beliefs extend to the next generations. For instance, that of the ancient people, claiming enlightening through subjection of physical pain to reduce someone’s strength, could be practiced and through this, Gautama was able to come up with various truths, which he explained to the people. Therefore, he was able to liberate the people from their depression enabling them to know the reality rather than illusions.
The history of Gautama, as revealed in this subject, is interesting and therefore it opens one’s way of thinking and finding insights to the current happenings and problems faced by humankind. Furthermore, this topic has also enhanced my research skills as it has enabled me to put into practice various research methods I used in collection and interpretation of the information collected. Therefore, by deciding to pursue this field, I have gained gratification: the basis of my appreciation of the fact that I chose this study.
Armstrong, Kigen. Buddha. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.
Bechert, Heinz. When Did the Buddha Live? The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha. Delhi: Sri Satguru, 1996.
George, Bill. The Life of Siddhartha Gautama, 2010. Web.
Hennaed, Richard. Siddhartha Gautama: The Historical Siddhartha, 2001. Web.
O’Brien, Barbara. The life of the Buddha, 2009. Web. https://www.learnreligions.com/the-life-of-the-buddha-449997
Changes Through the Journey Essay
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a not just a piece of fiction, it is a great book which dwells upon the way each person should come through. The symbolic meaning of searching for personal self impresses. Reading this novel each person can recognize him/herself. Searching for personal self, many people look at the experience of other people, they try to find their self relying on the skills of others.
However, this is not correct as the experience of other people may just give somebody knowledge about the possible events, actions, case, however, enlightenment is reachable to those who want to find it, who walks their personal paths getting personal experience and trying to find their self without relying on the experience of others.
The difference of Siddhartha at the beginning of the story and at the end of it is obvious. Attitude to life of a person who does not know what he is living for and why he is doing it differs greatly from a person who knows what he is doing in this world. At the very beginning of discussion, the author describes Siddhartha as a person who was wise enough and who experienced much in his life.
However, he himself understood that what he knew was not enough, that he needed more joy and love in his heart which he could experience only by having found the sense of his life. Having started his way, Siddhartha was a person without direct understanding of personal desires, his actions and thoughts were confusing and he did not know what he was living for. The way to the final enlightenment was rather complicated.
At the end of a story Siddhartha becomes a new ferryman. He is sure that his life is inevitable and therefore important. He understands that the role other people played in his life was as great as he played some roles in the life of other people. One of the main discoveries Siddhartha does at the end of the story and that makes him different from who he was at the very beginning of his journey is enlightenment. Those who managed to understand it, to discover and to get, are very lucky people as not everyone manages to do it.
Siddhartha understood that enlightenment called “…treasure and secret was not teachable, which he had experienced in the hour of his enlightenment – it was nothing but this very thing which he had now gone to experience… his self” (Hesse 41). The importance of this phrase cannot be overestimated as this is the moment what the protagonist reached his enlightenment. At the same way this very episode is the expression of the author’s point of view about human self.
One of the main conclusions made by Siddhartha and the author is that it is impossible to learn enlightenment. Each person should experience something, each person has to learn something on practice to make sure that he/she has reached enlightenment as this is the only way.
People should understand that self is something sacred, something that stays in each person individually, that directs a person, makes his life unique. Siddhartha said, “I will learn from myself, be my own pupil; I will learn from myself the secret of Siddhartha” (Hesse 39). Reading the novel, each of these moments is felt at the very end of a book. When a person reaches enlightenment, he/she reaches salvation.
This is the most sacred moment as having understood personal value, having understood personal importance to this world, one has an opportunity to understand this world, his/her place there. It is essential to remember the scene where Siddhartha leaves his friend Govinda under the supervision of Buddha who promised to teach his pupils enlightenment.
Having left him, Siddhartha “bean to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards” (Hesse 42). This is the moment when two friends separated for searching the same. This is the signs that each person has his own path on the way to understanding.
Kamala was another person who managed to change Siddhartha and his style of life. On the one hand, she gave him many lessons, important on his way to enlightenment. On the other hand, she gave him a son. Siddhartha’s son was the one who pushed Siddhartha for understanding that each person has to search for his path alone. Having left his son in the city, Siddhartha has time to think about his life, about what has happened and he comes to the conclusions about self and enlightenment.
It is really important for the main character to realize his meaning, to realize the meaning of the world and the meaning of the surrounding people and objects, “meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them” (Hesse 40). Searching for this truth, the protagonist has to look inside self, however, for a long time he tried to find something behind himself. It is essential to understand this particular moment.
Most people who used the services of a ferryman did not see this difference as well as they did not understand that they had to follow personal lives in spite of relying on somebody’s teachings. Only looking inside of personal self, actions, and thoughts a person is able to achieve something important. Only being able to understand personal mistakes and make sure that these mistakes are never repeated against, a person reaches his/her goals.
In conclusion, it should be stated that the book under consideration is extremely philosophical. Apart from personal self a lot of different themes are raised there which are closely connected to enlightenment, however, they may be applied to another of human personality. One of the main themes in this book is the search of personal self. The main character tried many different ways. First, he wanted to use the experience and teaching of a wise person, however, he understood that this way was wrong.
Then, he tries to release from everything trying to find something inside himself, however, he understands that doing nothing h would get nothing. Thus, walking the world he faces many people and each of them gives Siddhartha experience. Such experience is really valued as once having got enough experience, Siddhartha experiences enlightenment.
Having understood personal place in this world and the purpose of personal being, Siddhartha is sure that he managed to lead a deserving life. The only way he can be useful to others, as a part of salvation, is to become a ferryman. This is exactly what he does when his son goes for searching personal enlightenment.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, New York: Cricket House Books LLC, 2012. Print.
Siddhartha Gautama’s Biography and Spiritual Journey Essay
The motivating factor behind any person’s spiritual journey is the hunt for truth, self-understanding and the need for one to partake in the final condition of paradise and peace. The knowledge and understanding about life, God and truth are the major questions that linger in the life of any person. It is until one gets these answers that he or she receives the peace of mind that man always searches for. People usually have many questions about their existence, nature as well as the cause of all their happenings within their life.
Generally, the search for such answers triggers ones spiritual journey, which is normally within the confines of a certain religion. It is for the same cause that Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, left his family and riches. Although the teachings he had received from his father and elders, as a Buddha, were good, they could not answer all his questions.
Although they had moved from the Brahmins together, Hesse’s Siddhartha refused to join Govinda in following Siddhartha Gautama. This is because although Govinda has found in Gotama what he has been looking for, Siddhartha is yet to get the peace he has always sought for. He, therefore, decides to move out on his own to reach his goal of salvation alone, through his own experience to find the truth he has been seeking.
Despite the fact that Siddhartha found God in Gautama, he was not contented. According to him, some levels of truth are missing in the teachings that he has received about Buddha. The teachings did not contain the experience of the Buddha and that he was the only one who knew what had happened to him. Siddhartha needed a source of information that would quench his thirst for the truth that he was seeking. This prevented Siddhartha from getting alone with the teachings of the Buddha (Siddhartha 23).
According to the dream that Siddhartha had, it is most likely that the songbird represented himself while the gilded cage represented his godly confines. He dreamed that the songbird had grown mute and it could no longer sing. He realized that the bird was actually dead and had to throw it away.
Siddhartha had stopped doing what the society expected of him. This meant that he was spiritually dead an aspect that made him to be excommunicated. He could no longer perform his work. Siddhartha considered himself worthless without the will power to continue with fighting for the truth.
The dream was like a revelation for him. His senses were awoken and he realized that everything within him had lost meaning and taste. Siddhartha noticed that he had had much of wealth and experience and none of his questions had been answered. He felt some sense of hope for himself and off he went leaving everything behind. Siddhartha spiritual journey has a lot to say about the nature of the spiritual journey. It is important to know that not all people can fit in one religion or denomination.
This may be because of the differences in which worship is done. Siddhartha could not follow his friend. Govinda since they were all different in how they made their choices. It is also crucial to know that there are people who go through so many circles before they have their life questions and thirst quenched.
Siddhartha Gautama and Buddhism Term Paper
Born in the fifth century BCE, Siddhartha Gautama is the core founder of the Buddhist ideology. He came from a privileged family that offered him a providential upbringing.
The world’s view of Buddhists attaches some paramount importance to his birth, as he is viewed as the figure that brought the truth that the religion upholds. Siddhartha Gautama was a Hindu who led a faction that did not conform to the Hindu’s teachings.
Therefore, it is apparent that Hinduism originated from the Hindu’s religion though it began as a reform movement from within Hinduism. Based on the words of Kinnard (2011), it is apparent, “Buddhism did not emerge from a religious vacuum” (p. 1).
Vedas, which were oral texts that began in 1500 BC, are attributed to the early Buddhism. Gautama was a king who lived an exemplary life. However, when he was walking, he encountered people suffering from illness, old age, death issues, and hermits.
This experience triggered his instincts. He decided to relinquish his pleasurable life to find the truth about the agony that people went through.
The knowledge is summarized in the four noble truths, which include life means suffering, the cessation of suffering is attainable, the origin of suffering is attachment, and the path to the cessation of suffering.
Noble truths of Buddha
The first noble truth presents life as a form of enduring pain. According to Buddha, the life led by people is full of suffering and problems (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 16) because the world that they inhabit and human nature are not perfect enough to provide comfort to human beings.
During their existence, people go through a lot of agony. They endure a physical suffering that is subjected to their bodies (Kinnard, 2011, p. 4). Some of the sufferings that people encounter include injuries, sickness, pain, tiredness, and old age.
People also encounter and endure emotional/psychological pains such as frustrations, sadness, disappointment, depression, and loneliness among many others (Kinnard, 2011, p. 1). These sufferings are experienced in different measures or degrees among different people.
However, despite the sufferings, they also experience some occasions of happiness, easiness, and comfort. Nonetheless, in its totality, life remains imperfect because the world is subjected to more frustrations.
The experiences made Buddha find out the truth about life. This therefore marked the journey of his quest to find the truth, hence “…the beginning of a six-year quest for awakening (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 15).
As long as one can wish to try to keep his/her life happy and comfortable, he/she cannot maintain the status for the entire period of his/her lifetime. Therefore, the world is characterized by endless sufferings that individuals have to encounter.
During his venture, he found a solution to these sufferings. He managed to identify the causes of why people suffer. His title changed to Buddha after he managed to succeed in finding the causes and solutions to the sufferings.
In India, the religion was a door to prosperity in life especially when an individual performed his/her actions well. In fact, in the Vedas, “emphasis is on sacrificial action, work, and the correct performance of that action” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 4).
The encounters and experiences that Buddha went through changed his life entirely. His father, Shuddhodhana, managed to keep him off from such scenes- scenes of people dying, old ages, and in sickness until his old age.
The second noble of truth is ‘the origin of suffering is attachment’. Suffering originates from people’s ignorance and their dear attachment or desire on the transient things that are amidst their lives (Kinnard, 2011, p. 56).
These things are not only physical or materials things that people perceive and admire to have but also ideas that they have about acquiring any general things about life. People’s ignorance is manifested by their lack of understanding that their mind is attached to these transient /impermanent materials.
The reasons why people suffer is due to their clinging and craving. The suffering is brought by their passion, desire, pursuit for wealth, prestige, ardor, and the quest to become rich and be famous and popular. Kinnard (2011, p.9) refers all these as the “hustle and bustle of the world.”
Therefore, people will do everything to ensure that they achieve the things that they desire. They fail to understand that their attachment to these things is transient. Therefore, it is inevitable that they must lose them in a bid to usher in suffering.
Individuals will acquire these materials. However, they will again “fail to manage them properly” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 68). Losing them incepts or is the beginning of more problems, as people will begin to develop complications such as high blood pressures due to stress that occurs after the loss of what they desire.
The notion of ‘self’ is also “one of the objects of attachment that is a delusion because an individual cannot abide by him/herself” (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 15). Self is only an imagined entity. In the nature of human beings, the universe will ever consume them.
The third noble truth is that cessation of suffering is attainable. This implies that, as human beings, people have the capacity to avoid suffering in their life through causing nirodha.
Nirodha is a terminology that means the process of unmasking conceptual attachments and sensual cravings (Kinnard, 2011, p. 65). Therefore, if human beings attain dispassion, they can eliminate the sufferings they go through.
This noble truth provides a solution to the problems and sufferings that people encounter when living on earth. It is therefore possible to remove or eradicate suffering. The only way through is human activity, which entails the removal all causes of sufferings (Kinnard, 2011, p. 79).
State of nivora i.e. freedom for troubles, worries, complexes, fabrications, and ideas needs to be managed by or attained by human beings’ own initiative of perfecting their dispassion.
Therefore, people’s sufferings are something that they can avoid and or manage if they have the power and will not to do that. It remains a decision made by an individual.
For instance, many people crave to lead certain kinds of life. Such imaginations increase suffering and agony to their life (Kinnard, 2011, p. 70).
The secret however of overcoming such sufferings and agony in life is to avoid behaviors such as the desire to lead a comfortable life without hustles and earthly desires.
The fourth noble of truth is the path to the cessation of suffering. It is the journey leading to the end of suffering. It stands out as a method or a way that helps an individual to seek improvement (Kinnard, 2011, p. 83).
This fourth noble truth is at the middle of hedoism and asceticism, which lead to the end of the rebirth cycle. The truth manifests itself in many cases.
As an individual makes progress gradually over time, the individual’s habits of delusions, craving, and ignorance begin to vanish until the person is able to lead a more comfortable life. In fact, in the six years of awakening, Buddha exercised speculation and used time with leaders of the abstainers.
During his stay, he was able to understand and master their systems, but was not convinced that he had found the answers that he was seeking on the source of human suffering. The experiences brought suffering to Buddha who became emaciated because of the puzzles of life (Herbrechtsmeier, 1993, p. 2).
As he reveals, once they come to the world, people have no otherwise but to go through the sufferings until they die and depart from this world. The religion comprised of many gods that were believed to be divine. People offered sacrifices to these personified forces of nature with the hope of shunning the many calamities they were encountering.
They therefore did praise worshiping besides offering sacrifices to the forces. In return, they got booms from these gods in terms of increased production, protection, healthy sons, and a long life.
This is evidenced in the quotation “in return, humans received booms from the gods-abundant crops, healthy sons, protection, and long lives” (Kinnard, 2011, p. 3).
How the Four Noble Truths Apply in my Life
Based on the expositions made in the paper about the four noble truths, it is apparent that they mean a lot, not only to me but also to any other person. Initially, I got worried whenever I faced any form of suffering.
However, the four noble truths make it clear to me that, since the sufferings are inevitable and temporary, I should try to live as happily as possible without worrying about the future. I need not to worry because I am not rich. All I need is just enough to take me through today.
The future will take care of itself. Suffering is a way of hardening one off in preparation for great things to come. Secondly, they have helped me to know the true nature of reality that life and sufferings go hand in hand.
As such, I have developed the sense of appreciating life as it is without questioning. I have been able to appreciate that sufferings connect all of us.
Thus, instead of conflicting with others, I now have the best of reasons to wish them well in their lives. Therefore, the four noble truths are a way of nurturing one’s peace of mind. Every one needs to emulate the teachings.
In conclusion, Buddhism is a religious doctrine that can be attributed to Buddha. Like any other religion, Buddhism has its doctrines upon which its followers base their ideologies. These are otherwise referred to as ‘truths’ that form the basis of any religion.
The ancient belief and understanding of the Buddha religion amongst people in the ancient time was not based on truth. Buddha is viewed as an individual who brought enlightenment in the Buddhism doctrine. He found out the truth about life and human sufferings.
The four noble of truths are enlightenment to the people and believers of the Buddhism faith. For instance, as revealed in the paper, human beings live and encounter sufferings. These sufferings are mandatory and cannot be avoided. However, human beings cause some of the sufferings due to their cravings and desires.
The paper has gone further to confirm that, despite the suffering that people cause to themselves, they too stand a decent chance of eliminating them.
Herbrechtsmeier, W. (1993). Buddhism and the Definition of Religion: one More Time. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 32(2), 1-20.
Kinnard, J. (2011). The Emergence of Buddhism: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Summary of the Novella Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse Essay
The book, written by Hermann Hesse and entitled Siddhartha, dwells upon a man who searches for enlightenment in ancient India. The main character of the book, Siddhartha, is a son of a respectable spiritual leader. Siddhartha is also respected as he is knowledgeable and he is expected to be a leader just like his father as the young man manages to learn spiritual rituals quite early. Nonetheless, the protagonist is not satisfied with following rituals as he is keen on reaching enlightenment. He is wise and brave enough to start his journey to enlightenment and he is ready to change his direction if necessary.
The book is concerned with the life of the protagonist which is also his path to enlightenment. He resorts to many ways to achieve his goal and reaches it at the end of his long and meaningful life. He starts his journey when he forces his father to let him go with Samanas who try to avoid any pleasures of life to become enlightened. However, soon Siddhartha understands that this is not the way to enlightenment and joins the followers of Gautam who is regarded to be the new Buddha.
After a while, the protagonist understands that though Gautam may be enlightened, he cannot teach anyone to achieve this higher goal and Siddhartha leaves the teacher. He starts living in the city where he learns a lot about life pleasures and especially about love. He lives this life for a long time, but realizes that this is the wrong way and abandons the city for the life by the river where he learns a lot of secrets of the universe. Several years later he learns that he has a son and starts living with him, but the young man dislikes the life of a poor ferryman and abandons Siddhartha, which becomes one of the last lessons that bring Siddhartha to enlightenment.
One of the major motifs in the book is the notion of Om. This is a symbol of unity of everything in the universe. Siddhartha first learns about the Om, then he understands what the Om is and at the end of his life he feels it as he sees himself as a part of the universe. Another important motif is that of love. Siddhartha loves his father, he also learns about physical love and has a chance to understand what the love to a son is. All these manifestations of love can be regarded as Siddhartha’s steps towards enlightenment.
The book also reveals certain issues. The book teaches that a person should be brave to pursue his/her goals and find new ways to reach the aims set. Another important issue raised is that people should not totally rely on other individuals’ experience. There can be no teacher as everyone should try to find his/her own way to enlightenment. People should also have patience and they should be ready to accept the truth.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse Essay
The work was written in 1922 in Germany just after the First World War, which brought a lot of trouble to the Germans. After this war, they felt unfairly humiliated and decided to take revenge, which happened a few years later. Hate turned out to be cruel, and in the meantime, a writer like Hesse preached in his book the love of everything. After all, everything that surrounds people is all of them, and this is a series of reincarnations called Samsara. However, the Germans preferred to indulge in human passions and sorrows than to delve into an alien religion – Buddhism. The work is not religious literature, no, but it contains many references relevant to this topic.
Characters and Theme
The main character of the given adventure and self-discovery story is Siddhartha. This is a young man who decided to go in search of his “I” because he wished to know the essence of the world and acquire wisdom. The story clearly outlines that he is highly patient, smart, and he is used to severe hardship. For instance, the main character says: “The sinner, which I am and which you are, is a sinner, but in times to come he will be Brahma again, he will reach the Nirvana, will be Buddha—and now see: these “times to come” are a deception, are only a parable!” (Hesse 149). It is critical to note that indeed – he devotes his thoughts to his whole life, which cannot be said about the people around him. Hesse endowed the protagonist with his worldview, which even Buddha cannot influence. In the seemingly constant desire to achieve the ideal of Hesse, overheating is laid, as a result of which the main character instead of spiritual searches indulges in a worldly fuss. Thus, it is essential to note the fact that the given self-discovery journey is the manifestation of Siddhartha’s philosophical development.
The work tells how Siddhartha goes through a series of reincarnations. To do this, he does not even need to die in the natural (biological) sense of the word. The main character tries different roles and tries to find himself among them. He understands that he is different from other people. He is sometimes sorry that he cannot live with passions like other people. However, he tirelessly seeks his path, the truth, to which he must necessarily go on his own. That is why he does not accept single teaching on faith. He meets different people on his way, gets confused, almost decides to commit suicide, but in the end comes to new thoughts, conclusions. He begins to learn from the river – that infinite power that seethes in its depths.
He smuggles many people from one coast to another, plunges into many lives through their stories. In fact, this is a solid description – how a person learns from the river, begins to relate differently to people’s stories. It takes a very long time to think about it. Moreover, the result of these searches is the enlightenment of the hero, he himself becomes a Buddha who has cognized the world and, most importantly, himself. He looks back – and sees all his rebirths, all his guises (Kumar 14). The line between the past, the future is erased, and in fact, there is nothing but a sense of unity.
An analysis of this work by Hesse reveals the figurative and value components of the concepts of spirit and soul in a complex picture of the writer’s world. The idea of vision is attributed to specifically expressed value characteristics. The essence contains the cognitive activity of man, and it is his intellect. Hesse saw the difficult paths of the formation of human mental activity, showed puzzling constructions of a contradictory organized human soul.
Hesse in the novel calls to love life in all its manifestations, to live without seeking the meaning of life. In general, an analysis of the works of Hesse allows concluding that the author turns to Indian spirituality due to a crisis of spirituality in Western society. The Western world has become less interested in the ideas of “Truth,” “Good,” and “Beauty” (Sinha 72). For example, the main character says: “I wish that you would go this path up to its end, that you shall find salvation” (Hesse 34). Castalia has ceased to be a full part of the big world. Hesse gave this phenomenon the name “feuilleton era,” the main features of which are adherence to deep individualism and philistinism, the loss of thought of its purity and acuity, the dominance of mass culture and consumer society. However, on the other hand, in the formed conditions of cultural disorder, an irresistible thirst is born to think again, to establish order, to speak the same language again, to return to good morals, to unshakable foundations that cannot be subordinated to anyone and are not prone to frivolous change.
Therefore, Hesse postulates the primacy of the value of spiritual life. At the same time, he believes that the intellectual elite should not be locked in its imaginary world, it should change this world in terms of morality, morality, and culture (Study Guide 31). Indian spirituality is attractive with a wise and sensitive attitude of mentors to the moral education of their students, a desire to discover and develop their abilities and spiritual aspirations, to carefully help with doubts in various matters of life. Spiritual knowledge must go along with the practice of life, with experience, only he improves the person.
In conclusion, it is plausible to assume that by solving the problem of Hesse how to combine the existence of art with the presence of inhuman civilization, how to protect the great world of art from the destructive influence of mass culture, it concludes that the desire to create art outside of society turns art into a pointless, aimless game. An important feature in the action of the game principle is the social ideals of the community, revealing the spiritual life of people. At specific moments in history, the game plays the role of a dramatic basis in the realization of a higher social plot, social and moral idea. Social ideals undoubtedly include a lot of play, since they are combined with the realm of fantasy, dream, utopian representations and can only be shown in the play space of culture. In accordance with the concept, entire eras “play” the embodiment of the ideal, for example, the Renaissance culture, which tended to revive the ideals of antiquity, and not to create fundamentally new, its own landmarks.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New Directions, 1952.
Kumar, Raman. “Dialectic of Being and Becoming in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha.” The Achievers Journal, vol. 2, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1–19.
Sinha, Rohit. “Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.” NHRD Network Journal, vol. 9, no. 3, 2016, pp. 71–73.
Study Guide for Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf”. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016.
“Siddhartha” is a fiction story written in 1992 by the novelist Hermann Hesse. As such, the novel describes a tale of a man pursuing a spiritual journey in discovering himself. This comes at the time of Gautama Buddha where the author examines the Buddhist philosophy and Indian culture which are well expressed in his final epiphany.
The story is set in a small district of Kapilavatsu in Nepal where the protagonist decides to leave behind his home and search for spiritual growth. In the process, he becomes a beggar of Shramanas in a new environment (Hermann n.p). Remaining true to his goal he renounces all the earthly possessions, meditates intensely and fasts a lot while still homeless.
Religion is the main theme which outlines the desire to understand one’s spirituality and enlightenment. As such, spiritual nourishment is void of earthly possessions and materialist desires. Even though Siddhartha is a pious man, he is influenced by a friend he meets who inspires him with Buddhist philosophies, but despite the wisdom in them, he acknowledges that true spiritual understanding cannot be sought by intellectual understanding. Also, the protagonist is known to immerse himself in a scriptural study of both Buddhist and Hindu scripture (Hermann n.p).
There is a similarity between the life of Buddha and that of the protagonist. As such, the author uses a similar analogy to show the hunger for spiritual growth by Siddhartha. In the bible, a man named Abraham had to leave the comfort of his family to an unknown land. Similarly, Siddhartha imitates such an experience in search of spiritual nourishment.
The theme of love is pivotal to this story as the protagonist denies himself comfort to please his believer. Self-sacrifice and total devotion to a godlike power is an expression of love.
Hesse, Hermann. “”Siddhartha, trans.”” Hilda Rosner. New Delhi: Rupa and Co (1922).
The feeling of having a full understanding of oneself and who you are is something that everyone strives for. Being able to avoid pleasures and laziness to reach self fulfillment and clarity is achieving enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama, a prince from the Shakya Kingdom, went on a journey to discover himself and the reasons for human suffering.
Siddhartha led a very interesting life, starting with his younger years. As he aged, he became more significant because of his theories and religion development. Today, he is still a very important historical figure because of his discoveries, and many people worship him. Siddhartha’s quest to enlightenment shaped an entirely new way of thinking, and he should always be remembered for his legacy.
Around 536 BC in the Himalayan mountain region in a city called Lumbini, Siddhartha Gautama was born into wealth. His father, Suddhodana, and his mother, Mahamaya game him his name because it meant wish fulfiller or he who has attained his goals (Pearson, 2). It is said that his parents predicted him to become a Buddha at birth, therefore they named him a name with such a meaning (Pearson, 4). Two days after he was born, his mother died, leaving him in the care of his sister, Mahapajapati because his father was a very busy ruling king for the Shakya kingdom.
Growing up, Siddhartha lived in comfort and luxury because of his father, however, he was very sheltered so that he would age only experiencing wealth, and follow in the footsteps of his father. While living in royalty, he was given a very high level of education, and was taught philosophy, literature, and even martial arts. At age sixteen he was arranged to marry Yasodhara, and they had a child when he was twenty nine. From the time he was married up until his son was born, Siddhartha began questioning his life and what was going on around him. He noticed a lot of suffering going on from the common people of where he lived. All of this exposure made him get very anxious and paranoid. The thought of him being susceptible to old age, disease, death, and many other types of suffering sent him into a crisis.
Ascetics were very self disciplined and avoided all forms of self indulgence. This way of life intrigued Siddhartha, which is why he became so disgusted with the people in his village. He was also influenced by exposure to ascetics, men who had renounced all worldly goods in the belief that practicing self-denial as spiritual discipline could bring enlightenment,( Pearson, 6). He first became a monk, then slowly transitioned to full asceticism because he thought that way of life was the only path that would lead him to enlightenment. He gave up everything for this journey; his family, his home, and all his material goods. He was determined to discover something that he considered very important.
He experienced many hardships on his quest, and had to reevaluate what he was doing many times in order to be successful.
As a monk he started to practice yoga and meditation often. He wanted to start to get in touch with his mind and his body. Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra were his leaders, and they tried to teach him, but Siddhartha was not satisfied (Violatte, 14). He turned to asceticism for a more severe and tasking method to reach enlightenment. According to Pearson, ascetics would, practice severe deprivation of food and sleep, along with other self-induced physical hardship. They would use yogic meditation to relieve pain and conserve energy, There was a forest that was of importance to the Hindus, a common religion for the people in the area, where Siddhartha went to live as an ascetic.
The trials that Siddhartha had to face were physical, mental, and spiritual.
He experienced a lot of struggle and hardships during the six year time period he was living in the forest. Sometimes, his own thoughts and ideas lead him to danger. Fasting was a common thing for monks to practice, and Siddhartha thought that if he fasted for an extended amount of time, he could get a better grasp on his consciousness and attain enlightenment. A woman that was traveling through and noticed Siddhartha came over and offered him food, and it was not until that point that Siddhartha realized that enlightenment wouldn’t come from deprivation. He then decided to focus on a concept called The Middle Path(Pettinger). The middle path is something that would be taught by Siddhartha in the future. After living in starvation for years, he came to the conclusion that he should avoiding excesses of both fasting and feasting, (Pettinger). After this realization he began to focus harder and became more determined.
According to John Pearson, who wrote a biography on Siddhartha Gautama for EBSCO, he is said to have experienced the death of his former being. This means going beyond the experience of life as a cycle of birth, death and rebirth (known as samsara), to instead experience nirvana, what he called ?the utter extinction of aging and dying.’ It took him six years to attain this enlightenment, and it would end up being one of the most important days in history. After Siddhartha attained nirvana, he became known as the Buddha, which means enlightened one.
The concept of enlightenment is very interesting and complicated. It is very self oriented and it is something that cannot be taught. Nirvana is a state that a person is in while the event of enlightenment takes place- nirvana also happens at death. According to Immanuel Kant from Columbia University, Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage.
Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. This means that enlightenment is something that is personal and the feeling of being in nirvana will become apparent and all of a person’s suffering will end. It is the idea that doing things for yourself and not waiting for others to tell you to do it, and stepping forward in your life instead of staying back. Nirvana is described as blissful consciousness by Pettinger. Enlightenment is a completely new outlook on life, and Siddhartha was able to find that, and keep it with him for the rest of his life on earth.
After experiencing nirvana, he continued to meditate for weeks after because he wanted to enhance his learning and experience more of his new reality. Of enlightenment. Buddha decided that he wanted to teach others about his wisdom, and spread his new ideologies to everyone. He then made the choice to go back to samsara the physical world, and begin to educate. Buddha wanted people to understand The Four Noble Truths, which was something he composed while in enlightenment.
They were: Human existence is suffering, suffering is caused by desire, only by ending desire can humans end suffering, the Buddha’s eightfold path can end desire, (Pearson). The Eightfold Path is the track to enlightenment. He also taught a concept called the Middle Way. These three ideologies became the foundation for Buddhism.
The Four Noble Truths are the basic thoughts of Buddha on suffering and are the essence of Buddhism. They spread the idea that suffering is inevitable, but that suffering can come to an end. According to PBS, the notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it, Each Truth was carefully thought out and determined by the Buddha in efforts to explain life on earth and why there is suffering. He composed these ideas based off his own experiences seeking enlightenment. They provide guidance through the physical world and let people know that enlightenment is attainable. The last Truth describes the Buddha’s Eightfold path, and how it can lead people to live a life without earthly desires. All the elements of Buddhism link together and were created by The Buddha.
The Eightfold Path is like the practices or morals that, according to Buddha, should be followed to ensure enlightenment. The eight aspects are, The correct understanding the correct way of thinking the correct way of speaking the correct livelihood the correct effort the correct mindfulness and the correct concentration, (Gale Resource). These things can be taught and explained, however, part of the Buddhist religion is about thinking for oneself and discovering what a concept means to an individual. These practices encourage people to be respectable and do what they know is right. Buddha chose these specific principles because they all lead to a well rounded person that is more likely to be able to reach enlightenment.
The Middle Way simply is the Buddha’s view on life. Soka Gakkai International says that it is, the way or path that transcends and reconciles the duality that characterizes most thinking. The middle way is the perfect balance between having too much and too little. Buddha discovered this when he first had a lot of luxury, and then had almost nothing in the forest. He came to the conclusion that indulgence or not enough indulgence wouldn’t lead to enlightenment, but somewhere in the middle would. Some even interchange the phrase The Middle Way and Buddhism because the concept of the middle way completely grasps the basis of Buddhism. Buddha thought that all of these ideas and notions should be formed into a religious belief. Buddha assumed that people would follow what he was saying and commit to this new belief system of enlightenment. He wanted others to have the same liberating experience as he had (Hallisey, 13).
Buddha returned back to his homeland to talk about his experiences and to teach others in and around India. He gave his first religious talk- or sermon- called Turning the Wheel of Truth, in a place called Sarnath. He gave many more talks for the remainder of his life. His goal was to spread the Four Noble Truths, his thought on enlightenment and nirvana, and the Middle Way. When creating this belief system, he made efforts to not have it become an organized religion with a church and hierarchy (Pearson). He believed that his teachings could be used for guidance to further oneself but not to rely on fully.
It is said that Buddha experienced three changes of heart during his life. They were when he gave up his life as a prince, the day he attained enlightenment, and the day he made his decision to teach his findings. These changes of heart influenced his teaching style and impacted what kind of teacher he was. He wanted to be motivational yet practical and never tried to force his thoughts upon people. In order to adhere to multiple types of listeners, the Buddha gave his message in various ways, adjusting what he had to say according to the capabilities and predispositions of his audience, (Hallisey). He avoided all incidences of rules coming about as he gained more followers- he wanted Buddhism to remain as personal to the individual as possible.
As Buddha became more established as a teacher, he gained some committed followers called sangha, who became Buddhist monks (Berkley). He had to grant him the right to teach his philosophies correctly because he didn’t want any of his oral lessons to be altered or misinterpreted. Buddha continued to teach for forty five more years until he died of dysentery at age eighty. He passed in 483 BC in his home town Kushinagara where his legacy carried on and his ideologies stuck with many people. Some say that he left his physical body and continued on to reach parinirvana, which was where enlightened people went when they died (Berkley). The sangha continued to teach Buddhism and established it as a religion so that more people could join the following if they wanted to. It spread all around India and Nepal, and eventually made its way to China.
So many people were infatuated with the concept of becoming enlightened and experiencing nirvana.
Buddhism is one of the most vastly spread religions in the modern world, and it is because of Siddhartha Gautama. He had a vision and did not give up until he succeeded with goal of realization in the physical world. He is as important to Buddhist as Jesus Christ is to Christians (Violatti).
It has many similarities and differences with Hinduism, which was the predominant religion before buddhism came about. Jainism is another religion that branched off from Buddhism, and it is far more intense and consumes people’s lives. Most Jainists are acestics or live a comparable life to an ascetic. This religion developed after Buddha’s passing and it is said that he would not have liked it because during his time in the forest, he realized that acestics would never reach enlightenment because they give up too much. Since all of Buddha’s teachings were oral, there is some argument on what the core of Buddhism is. Some say its non- violence while others believe that it is humanity. (Violatti).
Buddha never saw himself as a religion leader, but just as a teacher. He thought that ceremonies and rituals that consumed people’s lives was unnecessary and thought that people should be able to worship as much or as little as they felt was crucial. Violatti says that he feels it’s ironic how Buddha ended up being worshipped like a god after his death, and was viewed as a hierarchical being.
Indian traditions started associating with Buddhist lifestyles and so gods and goddesses that represented different aspects of Buddhism started to be worshipped. Buddha did not want this to happen but he also created Buddhism to be celebrated however an individual wished.
Siddhartha Gautama was a very insightful person who made a monumental change in his life for the betterment of himself and others.
His realization of suffering and the fact that he had been blind to it for his younger years gave him this change of heart. His achievements in creating a new religion, which has 488 million followers today. 7% of the world’s population follows the faith of the Buddha in hopes of reaching enlightenment. Buddhists go on their own personal journey of finding themselves and what is important to them.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a religious and philosophical book about the teachings of successfully finding eternal happiness. The classic story of a man lost in his own world of cycles begins to realize his suffering due to his purposeless practices and resolves to follow others in order to find himself spiritually. Siddhartha displays the different ways of two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, in the story and its time.
As the story progresses, the audience will start to understand more about the constants and contrasts between Buddhism and Hinduism, and as to how people can end their suffering, reach enlightenment, and overcome sorrow.
The main character Siddhartha goes through several forms of trying to reach nirvana or everlasting peace. He puts himself through pain of all sorts: physical, emotional, and mental. His physical pain derived from his following of the Ascetics. A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bank, and Siddhartha’s soul slipped inside the body, was the dead jackal, lay on the banks, got bloated, stank, decayed, was dismembered by hyaenas, was skinned by vultures, turned into a skeleton, turned to dust, was blown across the fields,(Hesse, 7).
Siddhartha compared himself to a dead animal because it accurately explains how he feels and the sacrifices he’s making in order to achieve nirvana, an important notion in the society of the 6th Century BCE. People in this time believed suffering was caused by selfish desires, and tried to perform in ways in order to overcome it. In both religions, the only way to end one’s suffering was to reach nirvana or moksha, which means an understanding of the body and self in Buddhism, while moksha requires a true understanding of the universe and everything inside of it that is a key part in Hinduism
The conclusion of the book demonstrated Siddhartha’s overcoming of his selfish desires and reaching enlightenment after a great amount of time. Reaching enlightenment resembles finally achieving a lifelong goal a person has been working on since the day they were born. Many people believe they reach enlightenment when something favorable happens to them, but in reality, it’s two different types of understanding of enlightenment. For Hindus, enlightenment or moksha is understanding life and one’s self. For Buddhism, enlightenment or nirvana is understanding life and how to reach nirvana without any attachments to the physical world. Buddhism teachings disclose that materialism and greed are preventing one’s self from reaching nirvana.
An example of this would be Christianity, with one of the Covenants with God, the Cycle of Redemption, how the people break the Covenant with God due to their own selfish desires, but soon realize He is their nirvana. Christianity is more similar to Buddhism because it is universal, and ultimately a religion meant for the people, not for the higher society.
Overcoming sorrow can be quite difficult if not known how to execute precisely and effectively. Thus were Siddhartha’s thoughts, this was his thirst, this was his suffering,(Hesse, 3). Near the beginning of the novel, Siddhartha comes to an awareness that he will never be happy if he follows his father’s path as a known Brahmin.Silent and motionless stood the son with his arms folded, silent and motionless sat the father on the mat,(Hesse, 4). In modern society, this would usually be a father passing down his company to his son whom he’s groomed for, and just like Siddhartha’s father, is disappointed when the son refuses the family legacy.
As time grows older and older, so do the ways of people and how they live their lives. Siddhartha and modern society are not different in many forms due to the remaining culture around parts of the world such as India. Hinduism and Buddhism, while they conflict each other in some areas, they still support each other in ways that most religions do not; they share definite similarities but also contrast each other in ways that make them their own religions.
Buddhism was created out of inequality from Hinduism for people who were not as fortunate as the elites of their society were. The newfound religion gave the lower class an opportunity to believe in happiness and eternal peace. While the main character struggles to reach but finally achieves his goal, many today remain in conflict with themselves and life itself. With all of the problems people face today, Siddhartha displays humanity’s lack of support, acceptance, and utter joy.
Siddhartha Demonstrates an Eastern Pantheistic Monism
Siddhartha wants to find wisdom as a monk. He leaves his family and travels with Govinda to learn from wise monks who are in the forest over time Siddhartha dislikes the teachings and wants to learn more on his own. So he leaves Govinda behind who stays and learns from Gotama the buddha in the forest.
Siddhartha then meets Kamala but she wants a man who is wealthy but because Siddhartha knows nothing about business he seeks advice and information from a local merchant who trains him. Siddhartha then wins over Kamala but soon loses pleasure and loses focus on Gambling and other women.
Siddhartha then leaves and meets Vasudeva who has found peace on the river who helps Siddhartha find inner peace. In the end, Siddhartha found enlightenment and shared it with Govinda. Siddhartha demonstrates an Eastern Pantheistic Monism worldview due to the way they acquire knowledge through meditating. This took place when Siddhartha was with Vasudeva who taught Siddhartha how to meditate and find inner peace at the river and basically escape what is going on around him like the facts he left Kamala with his kid. Siddhartha basically practices through yoga as well as good works like meditating.
The whole book references Brahman which is the Eastern Pantheistic Monism definition of inner peace.He also spends majority of the book finding his inner self. In EPM the person dying helped helped growth into who the person needed to be. Just like how a butterfly changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly after the cocoon stage. Which would then cause the new being to think completely different about previous situations.
Sadly, this took Siddhartha his whole life to figure out and after he had experienced life. In order to achieve true enlightenment, Siddhartha would have had to forget all of the lessons he once learned through Kamaswami as a merchant and through that became greedy of everything he had. It took him the whole book to understand that this would only come if he became another person which falls into the category of man in Eastern Pantheistic Monism because being only an observer of the body means it isn’t your life and that means for Siddhartha he would then need to die and become a new being and that took him his whole life to figure out.