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"Siddhartha" is one of the names of the historical Gautama, and the life of Hesse's character resembles that of his historical counterpart to some extent. Siddhartha is by no means a fictional life of Buddha, but it does contain numerous references to Buddha's philosophies and his teachings. Although Hesse's Siddhartha is not intended to portray the life of Gautama the Buddha but he used the name and many other attributed to reflect the legendary atmosphere and the pattern of his heroes transformation. Shakyamuni, known in his youth as Siddhartha Gautama, was a prince who became aware of and profoundly troubled by the problems of human suffering. According to religious scriptures Siddhartha renounced his prince hood at the age of 19 and pursued the life of a religious mendicant from which he rejected both extremes of the mortification of the flesh and of hedonism as paths toward the state of Nirvana. After 11 years of ascetic practices and deep meditation, at the age of 30, he finally realized the truth that would emancipate mankind from their suffering, and he became a Buddha. All the teachings of Shakyamuni were recorded giving rise to a vast array of sutras or scriptures. The Buddha can in no way be described as a transcendental or supreme being. "Buddha" means the enlightened one; a Buddha is a person who perceives within his own life the essence, or reality of life itself. Unlike other religious philosophies or systems of religious thought, Buddhism makes no clear distinction between divinity and humanity. Its teachings enable people to attain enlightenment, to become Buddhas themselves. This ultimate reality supports and nourishes humanity, and all other living beings. Those who have perceived this ultimate reality inherent in their own lives truly know themselves, they are Buddhas. (Introduction to Buddhism) The basic teaching of Buddha is formulated in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Preceding from the premise that suffering exists...
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