Reading <i>Siddhartha</i> to Freya at Forest Lake

Michael Jackson

in Between One and One Another

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272330
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951914 | DOI:
Reading Siddhartha to Freya at Forest Lake

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This chapter presents the author's thoughts that emerged from his attempts to explain Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha to his daughter Freya. In his amateurish attempts to explain Buddhism to his daughter, he became aware of the foolishness of trying to characterize any human life in terms of a worldview, religious or secular. To explain the life of an individual Buddhist in terms of Buddhist scripture would be as absurd as looking for the Sermon on the Mount in the life of a Christian. What one discovers in any biography is never an entire culture or ethos, but only fragments. A life is an improvisation in which those fragments represent our fitful, opportunistic inventions of a language that speaks to our changing circumstances. The author then began to think of his own life, and then of its many metamorphoses and its unceasing movement between solitude and sociality.

Keywords: Herman Hesse; Buddhism; life

Chapter.  4955 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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