Siddhartha and Hinduism/Buddhism

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Alyssa Landon
Religion 105
Paper #1

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse discusses the many paths of teaching that relate to Hinduism that Siddhartha followed on his journey through life and how each path helped him realize what he wanted with his life. Siddhartha follows many teachings or paths in which to reach his spiritual destination, which at the beginning was to reach Nirvana.

The four stages of life choices, which favor both renunciation and world upholding, are 1) student 2) householder 3) forest hermit and 4) wandering ascetic (Ghose, 1/18/01). In the book, Siddhartha participated in each of these lifestyles for a significant amount of time. Unlike his father, Siddhartha did not want to be a Brahmin. He thought his calling was to be a samana, which is very similar, if not an interchangeable term for wandering ascetic. Siddhartha and his beloved friend Govinda were at heart destined to be samanas. Siddhartha bid farewell to his family renouncing material wealth and sensual pleasure as in two of the four aims of life. They wander into the woods to concentrate and try to reach the heightened sensation that is to come with being closer to realizing Nirvana. During his journey with the samanas, he learned to follow many paths that took him away from his self-centered ego. By following and voluntarily suffering through, and eventually overcoming things such as pain, hunger, thirst and fatigue, he was getting closer to what the samanas thought was pure and good. Although he would leave his ego, behind when enduring those scenarios he always came back to his ego, what he and Govinda were working for had only been a lesson in the many teachings and sets of goals they must accomplish to reach the ultimate goal they wanted; redemption (Hesse 14-17).

Their journey as samanas and students in the stages of life leads them to questioning the path that they were following, where these teaching helping them were they leading them on the right path?...
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