101 Books to Read Before You Die discussion

Siddhartha
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Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
So this is a shorter book--for which I am thankful, as November is a shorter month and the holiday season is upon us--but I have a feeling it's going to be a more challenging read as well. I hadn't even heard of this book until recently, and the only reason I knew how to pronounce and spell the name is because one of the children I taught in preschool a few years back shared the same name. This one looks more out of my typical reading material, and I'm looking forward to the intellectual challenge. :)


Melanie (mjnettle) I listened to the audio book and throughly enjoyed it. Didn't find the content challenging, rather interesting especially if you have an interest in Buddhism.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I know very little about Buddhism, to be honest, so I'm actually looking forward to that aspect of it. Not as a theological source for the religion, or anything, just as one can't take all of Christian literature to be a theological study of the religion, but just to know a little more of the background.


Mike I found this to be a pleasant and deceptively simple book to read. However it introduces questions and concepts of considerable depth. Much time could be spent in quiet contemplation...


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I'm finishing up another book tonight, then I'm really looking forward to diving into this one! I like thought-provoking books that aren't necessarily a challenge to read, but rather challenging in their material.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
So I'm about three chapters in, and have lots of questions already. I'm not familiar enough with the Buddhist faith to know how much of the philosophy is Hesse presenting his own ideas, how much is the character doing his own thinking or going through a youthful period of thinking, developing his own mind and beliefs, and how much is actual Buddhist philosophy. But I'm probably too early in it to separate all of that, so I guess I should keep reading :)

My biggest feeling so far is that Siddhartha's thoughts and ponderings are very relatable. Don't all of us at one time or another, or many times in our lives, sit back and just ponder it all? Wonder if there isn't something more? Have the thirst for knowledge that he keeps mentioning? The difference seems to be more in the direction of the philosophies. Buddhism, at least the way it's presented here, or to my limited understanding of it, seems to be the goal of escaping mind and emotions completely. This is a challenging idea for me, as while they're going about expanding and contracting their minds, they are having to literally beg bread off of others to survive in this very tangible, "real" world. Some more western philosophies and faiths, Christian, for example, are more to do with controlling those parts that are distinctly human/animal, and maintaining that control while still in a corporeal existence. Hm, definitely need to do more research on this.

Anyone have background in Eastern faiths, Buddhism in particular? I feel rather ashamed that I don't know more about it than I do :(

Does it bother anyone the constant use of the speaking of oneself in third person? Siddartha tends to do it the most, though his friend also does on occasion. Is the book written that way, to be more poetic, or is that more of a challenge of translation, and it just doesn't come across into English in a way that makes as much sense?


Irene | 1470 comments Snowy day yesterday gave me a perfect excuse to read the book in a single sitting. So, what am I missing? This struck me as one in a great collection of spiritual quest novels. Siddhartha has a life that parallels that of the Buddha, but deviates at the end, in his final obtaining of "enlightenment". Rather than embracing the teaching of the Buddha, he seems to have arrived at something that sounded like modern Unitarianism (or at least what I understand Unitarianism to be). I think that I would have been enthralled had I read this thirty years ago, but I seemed to have missed the profound elements in my slightly older age.


message 8: by Cosmic (last edited Nov 17, 2014 03:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cosmic Arcata | 18 comments I finished the book today. I have been reading several books that involve journeys lately. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Ulysses. I remember while reading this that Joseph Campbell mentioned this book as an example of a Hero Quest. I thought of the Tarot mythology of the hero and thought it would be interesting to plot this hero's journey along that time line. Kinda wanted to reread after I look at the tarot hero journey just so I compare.

I liked his views on materialism. I think we are kinda stagnate in our happiness factor because we are trying to attain it through things i.e. belonging...just like he was classed by his clothes. The gambling could also translate into monetary risk that we go into debt for. In some ways we often have our hand out either the way Siddhartha did in the beginning or the way the merchant did. Both preyed on different people.

This reminds me of a saying a friend's father told her.

Work for the classes live with the masses.
Work (sell to) for the masses live with the classes.


Stephen R. Marriott Cosmic wrote: "I finished the book today. I have been reading several books that involve journeys lately. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Ulysses. I re..."

Cosmic, I'd forgotten about Joseph Campbell and his examples of the hero's journey and I hadn't realised he'd featured Siddhartha as another protagonist on that kind of quest. But how interesting, it ties into that theme so well. And by the way I love those sayings you shared with us.
By the way my friend recently said some words that resonated with me and reminded me of Siddhartha's story:'We are here to create….after you’ve travelled and achieved so many of your desires, the thing that remains is discovering yourself'.


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