Placing Focus On Its Titular Character’S Spiritual Journey

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Placing focus on its titular character’s spiritual journey of self-discovery during the time of the ancient Buddha, author Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha challenges its readers to recognize the reality and truths of what it means to attain enlightenment. Through the course of their respective journeys, Siddhartha and the Buddha work almost as reflections of each other, displaying several links between one another in terms of their characteristics and experiences. Ultimately, however, it is their choices and difference in what they are willing to give up in order to attain their answers that their journeys begin to diverge from one another. Over the course of their tales, it becomes increasingly clear that the path to enlightenment is not…show more content…
Similar to Siddhartha, the Buddha also lived a life of discontent and was also sheltered from the realities of the outside world. The Buddha initially had little understanding or knowledge of religion and the realities of humanity. It was not until he reached adulthood that the man who would become the Buddha first came across the realities of human frailty. He encountered a man of old age, a man suffering from disease, a decaying corpse, and finally an ascetic, who spoke to the Buddha of releasing his fears of death and suffering by renouncing the word and seeking enlightenment. Thus, like Siddhartha would eventually do, the Buddha renounced his life and left, embarking on a similar quest to understand the larger realities and truths of the world. During their journey, Siddhartha and Govinda eventually end up under the tutelage of the Buddha, who by this point has reached enlightenment. Initially the Buddha worked towards enlightenment by punishing his body through fasting as a means of finding release from the self. Over time, however, he would change his approach and instead find a middle path, where he neither lived a strict lifestyle of self-denial and asceticism, nor would he return to the pampered existence of his life prior. He would live a life in the middle, and after careful medication would find the enlightenment that he had had long sought after.
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