The Stages of Siddharta's Journey to Self Enlightenment
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Readers have been fascinated with Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha for decades. Written in 1951, Hesse’s most famous novel provides the reader with a work of literature that, “presents a remarkable exploration of the deepest philosophical and spiritual dimensions of human existence” (Bennett n.p). Siddhartha takes place in India while the Buddha has first began his teachings. The book follows the life of a man by the name of Siddhartha, on his journey to reach enlightenment. The main theme in Siddhartha is reaching enlightenment without the guidance of a teacher or mentor. Siddhartha believes that he must learn from himself, and the guidance of another teacher will only distort his goals of reaching enlightenment. Siddhartha says that he must, “learn from myself, be a pupil of myself: I shall get to know, myself, the mystery of Siddhartha” (Hesse 36). On Siddhartha’s journey to reach Nirvana, the highest level of peace in the Buddhist culture, he undergoes three stages all of which are critical in helping Siddhartha find peace within himself.
In the beginning, Siddhartha is having trouble finding peace and discovering the path to enlightenment. Siddhartha’s interactions with his family, the samanas, and the Buddha help Siddhartha to realize that enlightenment cannot be achieved with the guidance of a teacher. In the very beginning, Siddhartha’s father is the one who teaches Siddhartha about his culture and spirituality. Siddhartha is very young when he masters all his father’s teachings and realizes that, “his father was to be admired, quiet and noble were his manners, pure his life, wise his words, delicate and noble thoughts lived behind its brow—but even he, who knew so much, did he live in bliss?” (Hesse 6). Siddhartha knows that ...
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