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Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

The German philosopher and poet Herman Hesse wrote this book. The translation was a little difficult to understand in certain parts of the book, but I was able to grasp what the author was trying to say overall. The story revolved around the character Siddhartha, who would later become famously known as the Buddha. In Mr. Hesse's book, however, Siddhartha grew up as a Brahman, which is a Hindu of the highest caste. Siddhartha rejected the teachings that his father had tried to instill in him but instead decided to find his own life by following some ascetic monks.

Siddhartha was portrayed as a reflective person with a streak for worldly pleasures. After joining the monks, Siddhartha decided to move on and ended up living with a famous concubine to satisfy his lustful nature. Although the book was written almost in the format of a poem, I was able to imagine the ways in which Siddhartha had lost his soul in chasing external pleasures for his sense of happiness. Siddhartha could never be totally happy.

I was able to identify with many of the themes Mr. Hesse was trying to get across in the book. It was obvious that Siddhartha would not find any happiness until he realized that the path for fulfillment and purpose is within each of us, and not in anything outside us. For the vast majority of my own life, I placed a high value for happiness in all things outside myself, what I believed would fill the void and the constant whispers of discontent in my own life. And regardless of what I did, I could never find happiness. I believe today though, that the search for meaning and purpose will not bring satisfaction until we are able to be satisfied with what we do have and are presently faced with. In other words, be at peace with our present moments, live in the here and now. I find many days where I feel uneasy and restless, and it is a struggle to just be mindful of what I am experiencing this very moment and accept it, but it is something I am working on.

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