9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Interesting work of fiction, but not a 'religious experience'!,
This review is from: Siddhartha (Paperback)
The thing that makes this book interesting is that it is really an intellectualisation of Buddhist and Hindu thought. However, one thing I think got lost in translation is that the essential point of Buddhism is **practice** (meditation).
In the book, Siddhartha reaches realisation only when he lets go of everything, but how do you 'let go' of everything? You can't just think it - otherwise you end up with a fake smile pretending to be enlightened while having all the same problems you had before. The thing that stops you letting go of things is your mind - so you have to work on your mind, which is where practice comes in.
Another aspect of the book that I would take issue with is that it seems to be suggesting that it is a somehow 'new' and different philosophy from Buddhism (culminating in the bizarre supporting role of the Buddha in the book). However, in reality from beginning to end every idea is found within Buddhism itself, with the ending of the book being a fictionalised account of realization. As for the fundamental 'journey', it has always been a part of Buddhism to recognise that the teachings will only get you so far.