Siddhartha enlightenment essay

Siddhartha enlightenment essay

Essay on “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Alex Millard Mr. Ammer English II Honors September 26, 2012 Siddhartha The important decisions one makes throughout a lifetime; those decisions that strive towards a coveted goal, possess purpose. In Herman Hesse’s book, Siddhartha, the main character named Siddhartha embarks on a life journey striving for enlightenment. Throughout Siddhartha’s life journey, the three most predominant events are the excitement of meeting the Buddha that quickly fades into a realization of great contribution to his search, his enchanting encounters with Kamala, and his time spent with the river and Vasudeva who ultimately reveal the path to enlightenment.

The character Gotama, also known as the Buddha or the Illustrious One, is what entices Siddhartha to leave the Samanas and what opens Siddhartha’s eyes to a truth about his self-searching journey. For many years now Siddhartha’s life was that of an ascetic Samana; a beggar, wandering through town after town, rejecting the senses and emotions of the meaningless lies of the world. Following the path of self-denial through pain, Sidhartha excels greatly in his new spiritual way of life and even surpasses his once teachers, and yet… He still thirsts for knowledge, for more.

Siddhartha realizes that if he intends on following the Samana way his entire life, he’ll never reach enlightenment, never move forward. Boredom takes over his ritualistic life. Rumors that emerge talking of a man who has reached enlightenment, reignites a spark in Siddhartha that once burned for the Samana life. The excitement of the news of Buddha is enough to convince Siddhartha to depart from the Samanas and seek this miraculous enlightened man.

Essay on “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Upon arriving at Gotama’s camp of followers, Siddhartha happens upon Gotama himself in the grove. Siddhartha expresses his admiration of the enlightened man along with his concerns of becoming a follower, “You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think, O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings. To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teachings what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment. (Hesse 34). A huge realization smacks Siddhartha into a whole new state of being. Teachers and teachings will in no way aid his quest for enlightenment, all he needs to guide is himself. Finally achieving his first milestone towards the salvation he so covets, Siddhartha now takes on a task of great unfamiliarity to him. Marking the end of his journey through the spiritual world, Siddhartha now treads into the unknown lands of the material world.

The material world changes Siddhartha in many ways and teaches him lessons that, in the spiritual world, would never have as much impact and or intent. A significant character in Siddhartha’s new life is Kamala. The beautiful courtesan agrees to “teach” Siddhartha the ways of love and romance with the requirement that he makes himself more presentable, rich, and that of someone belonging to a higher society. Eager to learn Siddhartha changes his clothes, becomes apprentice to Kamaswami the merchant, and makes a name and a life for himself.

As always Siddhartha excels and the plagues and characteristics of the rich consume him, “ […] gradually his face assumed the expressions which are so often found among the rich people—the expressions of discontent, of sickliness, of displeasure, of idleness, of lovelessness. Slowly the soul sickness of the rich crept over him. ” (Hesse 78). Siddhartha gambles, snickers at those less fortunate than he, dines excessively and richly, loses himself in the dangerous and enticing game of libations, and cares for money as he once did for enlightenment.

The Middle Path: Siddhartha’s Road to Enlightenment

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Andre Harsvik 12/13/11 Humanities The Middle Path: Siddhartha’s Road To enlightenment Why do people suffer? Buddhists believe that suffering is caused by desire. There are things and people in life we all want and desire, and when we lose them Buddhists believe we suffer. Buddhists want to attain non-attachment so they can be at peace with themselves; they want to reach Nirvana, the state of breaking the cycle of rebirth. They believe that you are reborn when you die, which is called Samsara, and the only way to break that cycle is to find enlightenment.

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, is a novel about a man’s journey to finding his inner self, to be enlightened. Siddhartha was born a Brahmin, the highest of the caste system in Hinduism, but he felt that he had to find his own path to enlightenment. As a Brahmin, he was expected to reach Nirvana. He joined the Samanas, listened to the Buddha, lost himself in riches and pleasures, and found himself again at the brink of suicide. Siddhartha finds himself when he looks into the river he is about to jump in. The river awakens him.

The novel centers on Siddhartha’s journey through experiencing the extremes of deprivation and excess and leads the reader to understand how he found peace. Hermann Hesse uses the river symbolically to represent Siddhartha’s final understanding of the meaning of life; he lived through the extremes and found the middle path, which put him at peace with himself. Through Siddhartha’s journey, he experienced the extremes in order to find the middle path. One of the extremes he went through was depriving himself of all desires and pleasures. Siddhartha became a Samana, which are groups of people who roam around trying to attain non-attachment.

The Middle Path: Siddhartha’s Road to Enlightenment

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This represents one of the extreme experiences because Siddhartha deprived himself of everything in order to reach non-attachment because he tried to be at peace at with himself by getting rid of suffering and desires. “’Well, Govinda, are we on the right road? Are we gaining any knowledge? Are we approaching salvation? Or are we perhaps going in circle – we who thought to escape from the cycle? ’” (17-18). Siddhartha is trying hard to get to enlightenment so he goes to extremes and joins the Samana’s to get rid of his desires. Siddhartha wants to find his way to enlightenment so he can live in peace.

He wants to break the cycle of Samsara and reach Nirvana. Siddhartha is starting to see that the way of the Samana’s might not take him to enlightenment as quick as he had hoped. He wants to get rid of his desires so he can be free minded and not have suffering. Being a Samana made him grow impatient and desired to be at peace with himself. Siddhartha learns from being a Samana to fast, wait, and think. He uses these tools to help him come closer to conquering his inner Self and reaching Nirvana. Siddhartha crosses a river, physically and spiritually.

He leaves his past life of a Samana to be a Brahmin again and spoil himself in riches and pleasures. He crosses the river into a town where he meets people who help him become a merchant. He left one extreme for another extreme. Another extreme he had to experience to be able to find the middle path is physical pleasures and desires. He loses his state of being in riches and pleasures. “…the world and inertia creep into Siddhartha’s soul; it slowly filled his soul, made it heavy, made it tired, sent it to sleep. But on the other hand his senses became more awakened, they learned a great deal, experienced a great deal. (Page 76-77). Siddhartha left being a Samana and became rich, in wealth and in desires. He started to suffer, almost to the brink of suicide. Siddhartha forgot a little about trying to be at peace with himself and instead started doing the polar opposite of what he did as a Samana. Siddhartha learned to work with business affairs, to use his power over people, to wear rich clothes, to smell nice and he learned how to eat rich and sweet foods. Siddhartha became irritable; he started to feel the suffering that came with all his desires and pleasures.

From this extreme experience his senses awoke after being suppressed when he was a Samana. His new use for his senses helped him to become awakened and find the middle path. After being through two extremes, he sat by a river, the same river he had crossed to become a Brahmin again, and he awakened. He felt himself be born again; he became a new Siddhartha. Siddhartha, overcome with suffering, leaves the town and goes stumbling through the forest. He comes across the river and starts thinking of suicide. As he is staring into the water he starts to hear, from deep inside of himself, the word “Om. The word opens his eyes to the world again and he remembers every thing that he learned from his experiences. “Then from a remote part of his soul, from the past of his tired life, he heard a sound… …’Om,’ he pronounced inwardly, and he was conscious of Brahman, of the indestructibleness of life; he remembered all that he had forgotten, all that was divine. ” (89-90). Siddhartha was lost, th en found his way. He realized that his wish to find peace would not happen by destroying his body. He realized that all the despair and disillusionment had not brought him closer to finding peace.

Siddhartha realizes that in order to be at peace and to find enlightenment he couldn’t do it by doing either one of the extremes but by using the skills and tools he learned from his experiences. By using the things he learned he could go right in the middle of the two extremes and still be able to find enlightenment. Siddhartha had just found the middle path, the shortcut to be at peace. Hermann Hesse uses the symbolism of the river, and the way Siddhartha crosses it, to represent Siddhartha’s final understanding of the meaning of life.

On one side of the river, Siddhartha is a Samana and learns to fast, wait, and to think. On the other side of the river he loses him self in physical pleasures, desires and suffering, but he awakens his senses again. Using the experiences and his newfound tools he created him self a middle path between the extremes and a shortcut to finding enlightenment. I don’t think Siddhartha could have found the middle path and enlightenment with out the experiences he went through. Siddhartha’s journey resulted in enlightenment and it shows that your experiences in life shape who you are as a person.

Learning and Siddhartha Essay

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Introduction: Hook — “Alas, Siddhartha, I see you suffering, but you’re suffering a pain at which one would like to laugh, at which you’ll soon laugh for yourself. ” Introduction to Subject — Imagine if suffering and pleasure worked together as one. This is something Siddhartha discovers from his long quest to enlightenment. Introduction to topics — Topic 1: Siddhartha struggles with the need to love. In order for his quest to come to a conclusion, he must to learn how to love, not only himself, but also the world. Topic 2: Siddhartha states, “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.

“. To reach all goals you need patience. You need time. Although, Siddhartha soon discovers that time is merely an illusion. Topic 3: Om. Yes, a simple word, but its significance to Siddhartha is intricate, yet profound, and plays a crucial role in his journey to enlightenment. Thesis — These three main things are of great value to Siddhartha. Time, Love and the word om are highly influential in his path to enlightenment. Paragraph/Topic #1: Topic Sentence: For Siddhartha to achieve enlightenment, he needed to learn the art of love.

He did not know how to love, almost incapable. It was this realization that drove him to learn that art, and to master it. Example 1: The first occurrence is a love between he and his father, a love that he rejects. Example 2: When he travels into town, he meets a beautiful woman named Kamala, where he then learns the art of lovemaking. Though, Siddhartha gets trapped in Samsara and escapes it by leaving her, although he leaves her pregnant and later it’s his son that truly invokes Siddhartha’s love.

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Example 3: It is the help of his friend the ferryman, Vasudeva, which helps him, not only reach enlightenment but also the ability and power to love. It is the river that they have crossed so many times that speaks to them, and through it all he learns to love, to love everything in the world. To embrace the flaws and know that in its own way, the world is perfect. Transitional Statement: Love can be tricky and challenging. Siddhartha needed to discover and explore it in order to know the profound meaning of love, and that discovery had to take time.

Paragraph/Topic #2: Topic Sentence: What is time? What does it even represent? Siddhartha believes that time is nothing more than an illusion, that life itself is infinite. Example 1: Siddhartha gets trapped in Samsara when he goes to find love. The feeling is infinite, just like his belief in life, and that whole idea of the circle of life is emphasized. Example 2: The River in the book represents life itself. It wasn’t until the end of the book that Siddhartha could hear the river laugh, that is where he discovers the true reality of time.

Example 3: His old friend Govinda visits Siddhartha on his ferry. Govinda then asks that Siddhartha tell him what his own doctrine is. What he has discovered. Siddhartha brings up the whole concept of time. He states that “time is not real” that “the span that seems to exist between world and eternity, between sorrow and bliss, between evil and good, is all an illusion. ” (pg. 76) Transitional Statement: Understanding time, and the past and the future, is just one of the many important things Siddhartha will have to discover on his road to enlightenment.

Paragraph/Topic #3 Topic Sentence: “om, is the absolute” (pg. 73) and in truth, Siddhartha is saved many times by the simple, two letter word, om. Example 1: The word om according to Carl Jung. Is the verbal embodiment of the collective unconscious. om is everything to Siddhartha and represents the world and oneness. This first occurred when he was a little boy meditating to decide if he should leave his home. Example 2: After he had left Kamala and his wealth behind, he struggled to escape samsara. It was that word that saved him when he was on the brink of suicide.

Example 3: At the end, when he is meditating by the river, he finally recognizes the absolution of the word om, this is where he ultimately achieves enlightenment. Transitional Statement: Siddhartha eventually realized that the word om represents all oneness and the world. Many times he was awakened to life by this one simple word. Conclusion: Revised Thesis Statement: Siddhartha ultimately achieves enlightenment, but he wouldn’t have been able to attain his goals without exploring the concepts of time, love and om. Review of 3 Topics:

Topic 1: To reach enlightenment, he learned that time, is merely an illusion, that it is infinite. Topic 2: Siddhartha also achieved love for the world, that it is flawless and perfect just the way it is. Topic 3: It was the word om that protected and saved him so many times and it was this simple word that had a significant impact not only of himself but also his journey to enlightenment. Mint: So I give you a challenge, next time you’re out in nature, and you come across a river, try to sit and listen. Just see what it tells you.

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