Siddhartha

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Monday Theology

First off, let me start by saying that Siddhartha is a book that I never would have voluntarily chosen to read. A book based on Indian culture (dot, not feather) and set in a period of many years ago didn’t sound like my idea of a fun evening’s read. But now, after completing it, I can say that I was 100 percent incorrect and pleasantly surprised.

This book was just chocked full of all kinds of symbols, signs and ideas, two of which really seemed familiar to me. Not because they are novel or revolutionary, but more because they are beliefs that I have held for sometime now. And the interesting thing is that I am not exactly sure where they came from.

The first and probably most dominant theme was that of where Siddhartha was trying to find his enlightenment. He began by following a strict regime and belief structure that he was born into. He then “rebelled” and started to follow the Samana’s and their practice of self denial. Later, he went 180 degrees and indulged in “the sins of the flesh”. Not finding contentment in either of these, he finally settles on living on the river and becoming a ferryman. This is where he found the true meaning of Nirvana. He realized that true enlightenment cannot be reached through teachers because it cannot be taught- enlightenment comes from within.
This is where I step into the picture. At the start of this semester, we were asked to tell something about ourselves, and where we were spiritually. I stated that I was a “Ten Commandment Kid”, being raised on bible movies on Sunday morning TV. I also stated that I had no formal biblical training, and that I went with my grandfather on “Sunday morning road trips” to his newest church of the month. Or week. I think that he was like Siddhartha in the fact that he was never satisfied with the answer that anyone ever gave him, so he moved on, still searching. This was his gift that he gave to me. The places that I attended and the movies that I watched asked many more questions than they ever answered. Even as young as eight I realized that while knowledge was good, true enlightenment, or wisdom, wasn’t going to come from any one pulpit or preacher. I have since found that the best church is on top of a hill, looking over a pasture with a gentle breeze blowing the clouds slowly by.

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