Siddhartha Study Guide

Topics: Gautama Buddha, Noble Eightfold Path, Four Noble Truths Pages: 9 (2361 words) Published: May 26, 2014
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Even though the main character of Herman Hesse’s novel shares the same name as the prophet Siddhartha Gotama (a.k.a. Buddha) they ARE NOT the same person. Herman Hesse borrowed heavily from both Hindu and Buddhist philosophy to create a tale of one man’s quest for truth and enlightenment. In addition, some of the events in the life of the prophet Siddhartha parallel the life of Hesse’s character Siddhartha. Some might go so far as to call the novel a legend—based in history, with a focus on a larger than life human, but fictionalized!

I. Reading Schedule **Dates are subject to change**
Read and study guide for p.3-36
Read and study guide for p.37-85
Response dues for pages p.86-115 (by end of class)
Levels of Questions due for pages p.116-15250 point Big Fat Quiz on Siddhartha Project: Siddhartha Reincarnated, Due Date TBA
***Be prepared for all class discussion of text and a reading quiz at any time!
II. Siddhartha Glossary
•ablution—a ritual of purification involving water or washing •Agni—god of fire, present in all sacrifices
•Atman—the deepest self, identical with God; also means “breath” or “spirit” or “soul” •Brahma—God, the Supreme Being; or, with Vishnu and Shiva, one of the three highest gods, the Creator of the universe •Brahman--the soul of the universe, the ultimate reality

•Brahmin—a member of the highest caste in India, that of priests (also confusingly in some texts “Brahman”) •caste—a hereditary social and religious grouping in Hinduism •cycle of rebirth—the endless cycle, samsara, whereby each soul is forever reborn to another life; ends only through deliberate actions leading to nirvana (Buddhism) or moksha (Hinduism) •Buddha—”Enlightened One,” applied specifically to Siddhartha Gotama, also called “Blessed One,” the first to achieve nirvana. -Mara—the god of death, physical love, temptation, and seduction against whom Buddha had to prevail to achieve enlightenment •Maya—illusion, the power of god which makes us believe, falsely, in the reality of the world; sometimes personified as a goddess Maya •meditation—a exercise designed to relax the mind and body to enable one to experience the spiritual •moksha—in Hinduism, release from samsara, absorption in (reintegration with) God •Nirvana—in Buddhism, the extinction of Self, the ultimate goal of the religion •Om (sometimes OM or AUM)—a sacred sound used in meditation •Prajapati—the personified creative force of the universe; sometimes identified with Brahma •Rig Veda—a sacred text of Aryan India, the oldest of the Vedas. •samana—a wandering holy man living a simple, ascetic life •samsara—the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth •Shiva—with Brahma and Vishnu, one of the three highest Hindu gods, to some the Supreme Being. He is the destroyer of the universe •Upanishads—sacred texts of early Hinduism centering on Brahman. •Vedas—the several sacred texts of early Aryan India; “Veda” also means “knowledge” •Vishnu—with Brahma and Shiva, one of the three highest Hindu gods, to some the Supreme Being. Vishnu is the supreme embodiment of Maya and as such is called the Preserver of the universe •yoga—any of several systems of physical, mental, and spiritual exercise designed to discipline the mind and body for spiritual development

III. Siddhartha Background
This is a VERY small part of the possible background one could study for a complete understanding of Siddhartha and its context.

"Siddhartha" is one of the names of the historical Gotama, 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 and his teachings.  

The basic teaching of Buddha is formulated in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Proceeding from the premise that suffering exists and that a release from it must be found, Buddha constructed his...
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