The Concept Of Buddhism By Hermann Hesse Essay

The Concept Of Buddhism By Hermann Hesse Essay

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The concept of Buddhism is focused upon a reflection of one’s self in the universe. Buddhists believe that there are an infinite amount of paths leading to enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama, the main protagonist in Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, is characterized as searching for Nirvana. The desire of finding oneness with the universe is reflected in his journey. Siddhartha seeks enlightenment through other people and the areas surrounding him such as Kamala, his son, Vasudeva, and the river. Siddhartha desired a perfect relationship with the world, but realized he needed to make sacrifices to gain that satisfaction. Nirvana cannot be taught by the world, it is only mastered by one’s ability to find enlightenment within oneself. Siddhartha is centered upon the common human experience of searching for a sense of self and meaning through the influence of cultural identity and self-actualization.
“The Buddha based his entire teaching on the fact of human suffering and the ultimately dissatisfying character of human life. Existence is painful. The conditions that make an individual are precisely those that also give rise to dissatisfaction and suffering” (Britannica.com). Many people nowadays spend their time trying to be enlightened by other people and their accomplishments. Hesse relates Siddhartha to the audience by introducing Kamala, Siddhartha’s lover. In the material world, Kamala is successful and represents greed and power. Siddhartha approached her, believing that because he hadn’t found Nirvana traveling with ascetics he will find it as Kamala’s student. Speaking to Kamala, Siddhartha says, “I would like to ask you to be my friend and teacher, for I know nothing yet of that art which you have mastered in the highest d...


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... Nirvana, using the river as a teacher. Vasudeva’s legacy as Buddha would continue to live on through Siddhartha.
Today, people in society view Buddhism as a way to become one with the universe and themselves. However, the journey to enlightenment proved to be difficult for Siddhartha because he needed to make life-changing sacrifices in order to live a life in moderation without suffering.
“The individual events are meaningless when considered by themselves—Siddhartha’s stay with the Shramanas and his immersion in the worlds of love and business do not lead to nirvana, yet they cannot be considered distractions, for every action and event gives Siddhartha experience, which leads to understanding” (Wikipedia).
Hermann Hesse incorporated the search for self and meaning to show the audience the importance of cultural identity and the value of self-actualization.





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