As a young man, Siddhartha tells his father that he wants to go live among the samanas (wandering ascetics) to learn from them. His father objects, but Siddhartha refuses to move from the spot he is standing on until his father allows him to go or he dies (whichever comes first). With a sad heart, his father, seeing Siddhartha's determination, allows him to go. Siddhartha's friend and "disciple", Govinda, follows him to live with the samanas in the forest, fasting or begging for alms from the people. From the samanas, Siddhartha learns how to empty himself of worldly desires and to lose himself to become one with the world around him. However, this does not satisfy him.
When the Buddha comes to their area, Govinda convinces Siddhartha to go hear what he has to say. Although, the Buddha speaks truth, Siddhartha says, "'But one thing this doctrine, so clear, so venerable, does not contain: it does not contain the secret of what the Sublime One himself experienced, he alone among the hundreds of thousands.'" Siddhartha says that "'This is why I am continuing my wanderings -- not to seek another, better doctrine, because I know there is none, but to leave behind all teachings & all teachers, and either to attain my goal alone or to die.'"
Govinda stays to become a disciple of the Buddha while Siddhartha sets out to attain enlightenment on his own terms. Finally, he comes to the realization that he has spent his life trying to escape the world and himself. Now, he seeks to find himself. He says, "'I shall no longer be instructed by the YOGA VEDA or the ATHARVA VEDA, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself, the mystery of Siddhartha.'" At this point "[h]e look[s] around as if he [is] seeing the world for the first time." And, although, he leaves all formal teachings & teachers behind, the people and experiences he encounters on his journey through life continue to teach him.
The story of Siddhartha is the story that many of us live. We follow after various teachings and doctrines. And, eventually, we open our mind to "see the world for the first time" through our own eyes. I could relate to Siddhartha's spiritual journey up to a certain point; this could be the story of my own spiritual journey. But I'd like to read it again and again as the years progress to see just how much more of it I'm able to relate to as I mature. So much of it seems to be the type of wisdom I'll have to learn for myself and can't quite yet absorb. As the aging Siddhartha says upon becoming reacquainted with Govinda, "'Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness.'"