In the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse eastern precepts are well described, giving us a good understanding of their religion. He leads his main character Siddhartha through a journey to find inner enlightenment within the teachings of Buddhism. Grown from a high-class family, Siddhartha decides to leave town in order to find his way in life. But it didn’t take long for him to come across challenges that he would have to now face on his own. He visits the Buddha along his journey and finds that even the Buddha himself does not have the answer that Siddhartha was looking for, so he moves on.
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He ends up being with a river man after his talk with the Buddha and tries to find peace with nature just as the Buddha had told him to do. Herman Hesse shows the precepts of the Buddhist through Siddhartha well enough that western readers will have a better understanding of their teachings. One of the first precepts that Hesse tried to depict was the four noble truths: life means suffering, the origin of suffering is attachment, the cessation of suffering is attainable, and the path of cessation is suffering. Hesse shows us these four truths when Siddhartha leaves his home and has to break off from his family and live as a Samarian.
I think that Hesse has depicted this part of the story to us to show that if someone wants enlightenment, he/she has to let go of what they have in order to reach the higher being that the Buddhist believe to be in. Another part in the book that showed this is when Siddhartha and his friend’s beliefs where clashing with his own. Siddhartha and his friends had traveled together for a while and when they all realized it was best for them all to go their separate ways it then turned into a test of Siddhartha’s ability to let go.
For so long Siddhartha had grown up with someone always there by his side, so of course doubt was on his mind when he left, but once he realized his ability in doing things on his own it was much easier. The Buddha had a thing with being one with nature and he told Siddhartha that he needs to find peace within himself. Also, the Buddha told Siddhartha that meditation will help him clear his mind and be one with himself. Siddhartha did not meditate as much as the Buddha said and Siddhartha did not find his middle way with himself. Siddhartha joins a river man trying to ecome one with nature and listens to what the river has to say. He tries to achieve this goal by living with nature and ends up not being one with himself because he still feels like something is missing from his life and is not his higher being. Hesse shows us the belief of Om (the oneness of the universe) by Siddhartha and the Buddha trying to live peacefully with the universe. Siddhartha feel asleep under a tree on day and woke up with a man that looked familiar sitting right next to him and was shocked to find out it was his friend that had stayed with the Buddha.
His friend had found his peace with the universe and did not realize it was him either. Siddhartha was dressed in nice cloths and called himself a what he called himself and his friend said that he could not be that because he had nice cloths. Siddhartha said that he could because he was looking for something that he had not found yet. Siddhartha had not found his middle way because he had not totally become one with nature. Hesse showed this point to the reader vaguely but there is still a showing of it in the story.
At that same time Hesse showed the Buddha belief in the Illusion of Time. While Siddhartha was stepping, his friend did not realize how much time went by because he was meditation and did not know the time, he just knew where the sun was. This also shows that Siddhartha had not reached his higher being because they believe in the Illusion of Time, meaning that there is actually no time. We believe that there is time because it helps us plan out the day and plan things. They believe that things will happen, as they should and that there is no time, time a perceived.
In the story Hesse also showed Siddhartha they also talked about how if Siddartha could reach the right mind-set, he would become the higher being he wanted to be. They talked about the Eight Fold Path. Wisdom: Right view and right intent. Ethical Conduct: Right speech, right action, and right lively hood. Mental Development: right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. With these eight ways, they will be able to achieve there higher being. Siddhartha tried to do all these things but did not do everything else that was required of the people.
He followed these things and Hesse showed these beliefs through Siddhartha. Hesse showed they precepts the best out of all of them because he made them obvious and straightforward to the reader while we were reading. Hesse showed through Siddhartha that change is constant by his travels and constant change in his life and surroundings. The first change the Siddhartha went through was when he left home and became a Samarian and started looking for his path to enlightenment.
That one of his first changes in his living style, he went from having everything to living on the streets looking for his next meal because he was trying to deprive himself. Another change that Siddhartha went through was when he met his friend and went to meet the Buddha in order to find his way toward his higher being. He went to see the Buddha and found out that he did not have the answer that he was looking for and had to travel again in search for his enlightenment.
The last change that Siddhartha endured is when he meets the river man and traveled the river with him and listened to the river. He became more intellectual because he listens to nature instead of hearing what he wanted. He also changed how he lived because he was listening and not looking. One belief that I believe that Herman Hesse did not describe well to the reader is Karma. He did not put a lot of events that showed that the Universe will balance its self out and that good things will happen to those that good things and bad things will happen to those that do bad things.
He also did not talk about death and reincarnation that much from what I remember about the book. Those are big beliefs in the Buddhist religion and the western reader would not have remembered the fact that they believe in you dying and being born into another body until you reach that higher being. Herman Hesse shows us, the reader, the precepts that the Buddhist have pretty well. He did great on some part of them and I feel like he left out some of them that are very important to the religion.