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Learning From Siddhartha Essay

1089 words - 4 pages

Siddhartha, written by Herman Hesse, is a novel about a man's progression towards his goal to center his life with a combination of peace and balance. Many of the displayed philosophies can be applied to today's world. Through my reading, I noticed many similarities between my life and Siddhartha's. First, Siddhartha felt a need for independence, that to truly be happy with his success, he must attain his achievements in his own way, and not others. Even though, he feels he must acquire this by himself, he tries to be as removed from his human side as possible. Only later does he learn that individuality and freedom from necessity must be united to procure his objectives and free him from his imperfections. Second, Siddhartha discovers that things and riches do not bring happiness. They are only temporary. No matter the extent of wealth a person has this never satisfies the insatiable need for possessions. Lastly, Siddhartha found that balance is the key to peace and happiness. Although a simplistic teaching, it is very complex to learn and apply. In my life, I can relate to his path and lessons, because I feel the same struggles and battles with attaining serenity.


Throughout the tale, Siddhartha strives to be one with Atman, or internal harmony/eternal self, but by his own attainment. Even when he is offered the insight of Gotama, the divine and perfect one, who is the embodiment of peace, truth, and happiness, he refuses following him and decides to attain Nirvana in his own way. In this, Siddhartha shows his prideful nature but also reveals a positive aspect: self-direction. He realizes that others' ways of teaching can only be applied to their past experiences, but is still reluctant to accept any advice. Siddhartha is consumed with `winning' independence and not listening to friends or elders, essentially, he is blinded by his pride. In his time with the Samanas, he tries to escape this fault by being something else. After years of failing to flee the unavoidable, he begins to see his flaws, and except them. He learns that to destroy his deficient character traits, he must face them. This transition, "awakens" him into the understanding that knowledge isn't everything, and trying to be as far from self as possible may lead Siddhartha farther from his goal. The "...secret knowledge of the Self of the eternal self that was neither body nor consciousness" ("Samsara" 70), is what Siddhartha is trying to discover and perfect. In my experiences, I have the same trouble, with attempting to escape my own faults, through this reading, I realized that "self" is inescapable, and an integral part of development. For example, whenever I get into a debate, with a peer, I feel prideful in my knowledge and ignore my opponent's perspective. I avoid paying attention to the pride within me, because I become so intent on being victorious. Connecting with Siddhartha's flaws helped expose my deep-rooted...

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