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Slide 1 - Indian Culture and Background A few essentials for studying Siddhartha
Slide 2 - A Bit About the Author
Slide 3 - Author - Hermann Hesse Herman Hesse was born in 1877 in Germany. He was brought up in a Lutheran household where it was assumed he would study for the ministry. His parents both served as missionaries in India. He learned about Indian culture through their experiences, and pursued an interest in Eastern religion and philosophies later in life.
Slide 4 - Author – Hermann Hesse As a teenager, Hermann Hesse was expelled from the seminary to which his father had sent him. He struggled to complete school and educated himself while working in bookstore. He cultivated a special interest in Hinduism and Buddhism. In 1922, at age 35, he began writing Siddhartha, the story of an Indian youth’s search for the meaning of life. During this time, Hesse became a patient of psycho-analsyt Carl Jung. His writing reflects many of Jung’s ideas on the conscious and unconscious mind – including his theories on archetypes.
Slide 5 - Author – Hermann Hesse Hesse also wrote the novels Demian and Steppenwolf. These works combined his interest in spiritual quests with the political and social develop-ments in Germany in the early 20th century. In 1946, Hesse was awarded in the Nobel Prize in literature. He lived out his life in Switzerland during World War II and died there in 1962.
Slide 6 - Introduction to Siddhartha
Slide 7 - Translation and Publication Siddhartha was published in 1922 in Germany and translated for publication in the US in 1951. The English translation gained true popularity in the 1960s with young counter-culture move- ments that embraced Eastern philosophies.
Slide 8 - Title Translation - Siddhartha “Siddhartha” is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language: siddha = achieved artha = meaning or wealth Together, the words mean “he who has found meaning or existence.”
Slide 9 - Character Connections The spiritual founder of Buddhism was known as Prince Siddhartha Gautama before his renunciation of social hierarchies. The young protagonist in Hermann Hesse’s novel is known as Siddhartha. He is also the son of a wealthy Brahmin family. The main character should NOT be confused with the spiritual leader! They are two different people who appear separately in the novel.
Slide 10 - Setting in Siddhartha The story is set in ancient India around 500 BC during the rise of Buddhism. This was a time of great change in ancient India. Many age-old philosophies were being challenged. Additionally, a new spiritual leader was offering a hopeful alternative to those living within the bounds of the traditional caste system.
Slide 11 - Some research suggests that Indo-Aryan invaders established a long-standing social stratification in India. Records of the caste system date back to the Vedic Period (300 BCE). Certain Hindu scriptures describe a caste system for organizing society but never endorse discrimination based on caste. Traditionally, an individual’s caste defined occupation, diet, social interaction, and style of dress. Ancient Indian Society
Slide 12 - Indian Caste System Brahmins / Priests - intellectual and spiritual leaders (Siddhartha) Kshatriya / Warriors and aristocrats - protectors of society Vaishyas / Merchants, farmers, artisans - skilled producers Shundras / unskilled labor Untouchables - outside of caste system
Slide 13 - Caste in Siddhartha The story’s protagonist, Siddhartha is the oldest son in a wealthy Brahmin family. As a member of this priestly class, young Siddhartha was supposed to follow in his father’s footsteps as a spiritual leader. He was expected to practice the rites and rituals of Hinduism closely. His social status was closely linked to his father’s religion, and he questioned both.
Slide 14 - Siddhartha combines the beliefs of both traditional Hinduism and early Buddhism. Siddhartha, the protagonist, studies both religions. Thus, it is important to know a few concepts related to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Religion in Siddhartha
Slide 15 - Concepts in Hinduism
Slide 16 - Early Hinduism Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions in the Indian sub-continent and has no single founder. Today, the religion has over one billion adherents who study a wide range of sacred texts, including:
Slide 17 - Sacred Texts in Hinduism The Vedas: The oldest scriptures in Hinduism recorded in Sanskrit, includes The Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda The Upanishads: philosophical texts passed down by oral tradition; associate with Vedas Mahabharata and Ramayana: Sanskrit epics that relate Hindu history. The Mahabharata includes the Bhagavad Gita (lessons of Lord Krishna)
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Slide 19 - Hindusim and Castes Many sacred texts in Hinduism recognize the traditional caste system as a divine order in which upward social mobility is only achieved through reincarnation, or rebirth. Collected karma (actions) influences your atman’s (soul’s) position in next life.
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Slide 21 - Hindu Rituals Traditionally, in order to achieve good karma every household must perform many ablutions (sacrifices). Critics of Hinduism said sacrifices were too great and rituals too tedious; only those in higher castes could improve their position The poor were offered alternative to this tradition with Buddhism.
Slide 22 - Concepts in Hinduism Hindu concepts of god, spirituality, etc. vary widely with each particular tradition or philosophy. Siddhartha’s family practiced a form of Vedic Hinduism. Here are a few useful terms from that tradition (see your glossary for more): Atman – the true soul, or “self,” of a person Brahman, the supreme spirit or truth. Most want to find a connection between this universal spirit and self. (Do not confuse this term with Brahmin caste.)
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Slide 24 - Concepts in Hinduism Samsara – The cycle of life, death, and rebirth connected to reincarnation. The wheel of life is a symbols for this process. Moksha – state of true understanding and freedom from samsara (known in some traditions as Nirvana).
Slide 25 - Concepts in Hinduism Meditation - a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of awareness. This is one method for achieving enlightenment. Om – a highly symbolic sound made to focus and guide religious meditation. Each syllable (a-u-m) takes on a specific meaning in Sanskrit and represents a universal element.
Slide 26 - From Hinduism to Buddhism
Slide 27 - From Hinduism to Buddhism Around 500 BC, Buddhism was a new philosophy founded by a “Buddha,” a man who had reached enlightenment by his own means. This Buddha had new ideas about reaching enlightenment and was seen as a savior by many for his views on the caste system.
Slide 28 - Buddhism Basics Buddha – means awakened one or enlightened one. Buddhism is a set of beliefs based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as “Buddha.” He is referred to as “Gotama” in Hesse’s novel. The teachings of Buddha focused on ethical conduct, rejection of worldly matters, and meditation as a means to true wisdom and enlightenment.
Slide 29 - Siddhartha Gotama’s Life According to recorded stories, priests told Gotama’s father that he would either be a powerful ruler or an enlightened teacher. Because his father wanted him to be a leader, he confined young Gotama to the palace and prevented him from experiencing the outside world. However, as Gotama grew older, he venture outside the palace walls and viewed The Four Sights that made him aware of human suffering (old age, disease, death, renunciation).
Slide 30 - These four sights made Gotama long to find an end to suffering. At the age of 29, he leaves his family and spends the next six years searching for a solution to suffering. He sought out spiritual masters and even joined a group of ascetics who practice self-denial. Siddhartha Gotama’s Life
Slide 31 - More Terms Asceticism – the practice of denying the physical self through fasting and starvation to discover spiritual truths Samana – a wandering ascetic monk of any tradition (Hindu or Buddhist)
Slide 32 - Siddhartha Gotama’s Life Reflecting on the experiences of his life, still, Siddhartha found no answer. He knew that luxury and indulgence could not keep suffering away, nor could the extreme denial of asceticism. He needed a “middle path.” He left the company of the ascetics, and traveling some distance, found a Bodhi tree and sat down beneath its branches. He closed his eyes.
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Slide 34 - Siddhartha Gotama’s Life He turned all of his attention within. As he moved deeper and deeper into himself, he began to see the truth of existence. He saw that all life was connected. Nirvana was revealed. At this moment, in the here and now, Siddhartha became the Buddha, “enlightened one.” He was transformed. He went on to teach others of the Four Noble Truths and to encourage them to seek Nirvana for themselves.
Slide 35 - Images of Buddha
Slide 36 - Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)
Slide 37 - As we begin to read Siddhartha, pay attention to the similarities and differences between Siddhartha’s journey and Buddha’s journey. Let the meditation begin! Ommmm. . .