Siddhartha's Self Realization

Topics: Gautama Buddha, Knowledge, Asceticism Pages: 2 (593 words) Published: April 3, 2006
"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse

Herman Hesse describes knowledge in Siddhartha as something that can only be obtained through self-discoveries and experiences. Throughout Siddhartha's learning experiences he denounces teachers and their ways of teaching. Hesse traces Siddhartha's enlightenment through his own experiences and through the people he meets along his journey. Siddhartha's quest of the Self is developed by three major events including his meeting with Buddha, his attempted suicide, and his arrival and departure of his son. These three events contributed to his self-discoveries and individuality.

Siddhartha's meeting with Gautama, the Buddha, is the first major experience in his journey that affected his learning process. After several unmotivating years of living an ascetic life of a Samana, Siddhartha began his journey and sought out Gautama, known as "The Illustrious One." Siddhartha hoped that Gautama could assist him in his journey to find his inner self. Gautama's advise and teachings were a disappointment to Siddhartha. He felt that the Buddha's methods would only teach him spirituality in a logical way when he was searching for ways to realize his spirituality in a more natural, metaphysical way. This interaction between Gautama and Siddhartha demonstrates the theme that knowledge cannot be taught. Siddhartha feels he cannot learn by just hearing Guatama's experiences. He believes he needs to experience these things himself to truly reach his inner self.

The next event that moves Siddhartha forward in his quest for self-discovery is his attempted suicide. Before he contemplates suicide, Siddhartha has become a completely different man. He indulges in many of the material pleasures that most people delve into. He becomes Kamala's lover, and desires money, which he gets through being a merchant and a gambler. Siddhartha begins to change and becomes self centered, greedy, and loses much of his spiritual gains because of his exploration of the...
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