Sep 15 2009

Siddhartha

SiddharthaLast night I finished Herman Hesse‘s 1922 classic book (translated to English in 1951) Siddhartha. The book tells the story of an insightful young man and his journey to find enlightenment.  Siddhartha eschews the teachings of holy men, preferring instead to learn from his own experiences.

As per usual, I didn’t know a great deal about this book when I started reading it. The lyrical style takes some getting used to. By the time the second book began (the novel is divided into two parts) the story unfolds both richly and quickly. Not knowing a great deal about Buddhism, this book seems to be a great introduction to a wide culture I knew almost nothing about. People more familiar with Buddhism might appreciate Hesse’s incorporation of the four noble truths and eight-fold path into the structure of the story. While the story itself wasn’t particularly compelling, I enjoyed many of the characters’ observances and lessons… Which is sort of the point.

“Let the things be illusions or not, after all I would then also be an illusion, and thus they are always like me.”

4 out of 5