Ismeray Gonzalez 10/12/09 Mr. Wood AP Eng. Lit. P.

4 Revised Essay Practically physically perfect and born to a wealthy and illustrious Brahmin( an Indian of high status), Siddhartha is by all means discontent and unsatisfied with his life; because, for all the joy he unleashes upon everyone he knows, he cannot give himself a drop of that joy. Traditionally bound by his customs, he feels trapped and unable to hide his repressed feelings anymore. The strength of his desire to seek enlightenment consumes him for the rest of his life, inspiring him to leave all he knew, all he had, and all he was. Siddhartha’s careful structure parallels the spiritual journey of its protagonist. Formally, it is divided into two parts, but indeed it has a three-part structure that corresponds to three phases Siddhartha passes through his path to enlightenment: the stage of the mind, which corresponds to walking with the ascetics and listening to the Buddha; the stage of the flesh, which corresponds to the teaching in the arts of love with Kamala and the arts of commerce with Kamaswami; and the stage of transcendence, which corresponds to the epiphany by the river and a father’s lesson in love. In the beginning, Siddhartha thinks that taking intense, extreme measures is the only way he will be able to answer his questions. He renounces the extreme wealth of his family in favor of extreme poverty, and then returns to extreme wealth. Siddhartha leaves his family village in India to search for meaning in his life. He joins the Samanas who believe in asceticism, the deprivation of the body of all physical desires. In the course of his spiritual experiments, he fasts for days and meditates for hours. Siddhartha goes through this stage but still he can not find enlightenment. He then visits Gotama, the Buddha.

Siddhartha’s skeptical that Gotama’s teachings are the true path to enlightenment and continues seeking spiritual fulfillment. Occasionally, Siddhartha loses sight of his goal, as when he abandons bodily pain and pursues bodily pleasure to the exclusion of all else. His time spent with Kamala and Kamaswami introduced him to the worldly pleasures in life. He matures and has a long relationship with Kamala, a beautiful courtesan; they bear a son whose name is also Siddhartha. He becomes rich through his employment in the business of the merchant, Kamaswami. Much later, he derides himself for wasting his time this way. The parts of Siddhartha that demand self-realization are distinct Buddhist philosophies. Although Siddhartha probably does not know it, the Buddha he encounters once embraced extremes as Siddhartha does. Eventually, the Buddha decided to neither starve nor overeat, neither deprive himself of comfort nor lounge in the lap of luxury; he decided on a “middle path.” By the end of his life, Siddhartha picks the same path, lives on the river with Vasudeva and listens to the water. He sleeps, but not excessively. He eats, but not gluttonously. This outer balance parallels the inner balance that Siddhartha has found in his mind. He has no need to search for peace anymore, because he has found it. He has learned to unite the life of the mind with the life of the body.