Customer Reviews


334 Reviews
5 star:
 (225)
4 star:
 (60)
3 star:
 (20)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing read for me
I was only seventeen when I read this book, more than thirty years ago. I wasn't searching for anything. I certainly had no interest in Buddhism. In fact, I wasn't even aware that the story was about The Buddha until after finishing it. My older sister's boyfriend loaned it to me because he wanted to see my reaction. I was stunned by the book. The reading of it was like a...
Published on March 22 2010 by Samantha

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lifelong spiritual journey
This book is a brilliant work, teeming with symbolism within characters, plot, and various events that take place during the lifelong spiritual journey of Siddhartha, a Brahman's son. One may say this self-disovery search would categorize this novel in the coming of age genre. Yet it goes beyond that. We see a young boy, though wise beyond his years at a tender age,...
Published on June 16 2004 by QUEEN_OF_EVERYTHING


‹ Previous | 1 234 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing read for me, March 22 2010
By 
Samantha "Critical Reader" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
I was only seventeen when I read this book, more than thirty years ago. I wasn't searching for anything. I certainly had no interest in Buddhism. In fact, I wasn't even aware that the story was about The Buddha until after finishing it. My older sister's boyfriend loaned it to me because he wanted to see my reaction. I was stunned by the book. The reading of it was like a meditation, the story deeply felt. I can still hear the river speaking to Siddhartha...It had a powerful impact on me, my life. Within a couple of years of reading it, I was meditating, doing yoga, practicing mindfulness--in a small town where such things were unheard of. I believe it was the influence of this piece of literature that was working away at me, at my very depths. Looking back, I would have to say that Siddartha informed many of my life choices, even though I didn't realize it until recently.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lifelong spiritual journey, June 16 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is a brilliant work, teeming with symbolism within characters, plot, and various events that take place during the lifelong spiritual journey of Siddhartha, a Brahman's son. One may say this self-disovery search would categorize this novel in the coming of age genre. Yet it goes beyond that. We see a young boy, though wise beyond his years at a tender age, transform into an ageing man who has been through every phase and stage of life. He's grown and developed. We come to understand how various events play out in his life, molding him and shaping him into the person he becomes.
Though this book is a mere 160 pages, it is no easy read. You need to decipher it by each threading sentence to understand the semi-complex symbolism - and it doesn't always jump right out at you, either. And if you're looking for a book with realistic characters who think the thoughts and feel the emotions of average people, look elsewhere. Often times, this is what I prefer in my reads, but this was a nice change from my usual teen fluff of high school angst and turmoil. I'd recommend it for ages 13 and older.
I used this book to parallel with my history lesson. Siddhartha's journey of self-discovery is said to be based on the life of Buddha, who set out to search for enlightenment. He wished to come to understand the causes of human suffering and he achieved his goal. It appears Siddhartha came to see the main cause of misery in human beings just like Buddha - that one thing happens to be desire. The stages and phases of Siddhartha's life lead him from a beggar to one who lives the overprivileged life, filled with material riches and wealths. During this period, Siddhartha gets high off the adrenaline rush of gambling, gambling, gambling...and winning over and over again - it isn't for money's sake. Siddhartha comes to realize the riches and wealth the world has to offer make him unhappy. In fact, it appears he, in all honestly, was happier as a beggar.
Siddhartha is one-dimensional and barely seems human. As I said before, he does not feel an average person's emotions. This is proven by how easily he leaves his father and his first-born sun, not shedding a single tear. However, Siddhartha does indeed show extreme perseverance and determination. Overall, Hesse uses him, along with other characters, to convey his symbolism. He succeeds. That, perhaps, is why SIDDHARTHA has been enjoyed for generations and will continue to be a favorite, the type of novel that can be read during any time and any phase of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intruction to the spiritual path, Dec 30 2010
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
Some of us learn through teachers; others choose the experiential path. Siddhartha, written by Hermann Hesse in 1922, is a fictional account of the latter. A moving and revelatory work made more personally profound by my own life experiences, I reread Hermann Hesse's little novel with greater insight and maturity after three readings in as many decades.

Set in sixth century India circa 500 BCE, the novel's protagonist, Siddhartha, the son of an Indian Brahmin, is a contemporary of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Reluctantly accompanied by his close childhood friend, Govinda (representing his spiritual shadow side), Siddhartha departs from the orthodoxy of brahminic (Hindu) belief to experience deprivation as a wandering sadhu. Yet Siddhartha chafes as a student and yearns to learn experientially. After three years as mendicant monks, Govinda and he encounter the Buddha; Govinda embraces the Illustrious One's teachings about suffering as the result of cause and effect and becomes a disciple. Siddhartha, who encounters the Buddha by himself, rejects further spiritual tutelage and departs alone to experience the world, where he shortly experiences an epiphany that creation is more than shadow and illusion; it is beautiful in itself. It is on this first stage of his solitary journey that he encounters a ferryman, Vasudeva (Charon), who together with his river (Styx) later become significant in Siddhartha's life.

No longer a sadhu, Siddhartha encounters a courtesan, Kamala, through whom he intends to learn about carnal knowledge. Their long and intimate relationship becomes the vehicle for his successful career as a rice merchant in partnership with Kamaswami, an avuncular type who, like Kamala, mentors him in the ways of the material world such as possessions, commerce, wealth and status.

During the following decade, Siddhartha eventually grows more than satiated with material success and hedonism; he becomes sick (literally 'dis-eased') in his soul (samsara) and seeks release through suicide. Rejecting his material life, he stumbles back to the river, careworn, tired of existence, and intent on drowning himself. In his despair, a childhood spiritual memory returns, the sound of OM; in its repeated pronunciation, he begins the path of inner peace. Divesting himself of his formal life, he apprentices himself to the ferryman and receives both friendship and spiritual instruction through association with the river (representing the eternal now).

Siddhartha is the story of one life - it is the story of every life. There comes a point in our existence where we must choose to walk beyond our parents, teachers, and other authority figures and strike out on our own to learn through direct experience. Some, like Siddhartha, embark on this path early; others, like his shadow friend Govinda, never really enter the solitary path and remain lifelong dependants of gurus and other guides, spiritual fledglings more secure as sheep than shepherds. (They are those about which Hebrews 5:12 refers.)
In his depiction of Siddhartha, Hesse demonstrates that we are each the captain of our life and the master of our destiny. In choosing to remain dependent on others, we deny ourselves independence of thought. In seeking the approval of others, we deny ourselves self-confidence and maturity of character. Such is the contrast between Siddhartha and Govinda; such is the contrast between the spiritual adherents of mass religious movements of whatever creed and those rare few individuals whom Soren Kierkegaard called the 'chevaliers of the faith'.

To those who choose to be receptive and open-minded, Hesse's novel remains a powerful instruction about the spiritual path, from ignorance to enlightenment, from infancy to maturity, from craving to nirvana.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Special, Oct. 24 1997
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Audio Cassette)
I read this book when I was 19. I am now 51. Having just discovered Amazon Books, I was "surfing" and searching out titles that came to memory. I also read the lyrical version in German in those now distant days, and spent much time looking for "Suleika", or "Zuleika". It brought me great peace of mind at that time, as I had to interrupt my college days in order to enter the Army and go to Vietnam. The book reads like the flowing river, and is in some ways an eternal story of search for meaning in life and realization. Like Sidhartha our search for meaning often ends at the beginning. Ultimately, we return to the basic and simple truths that were there when we were born. Growing up is a kind of struggle. Sidhartha is a story of idealism and virtue that survives ignorance, futility and evil. If in the end, we retain that idealism, our lives can be heroic and our conscience pure. Sometimes, I remember and recall the words: "From Sidhartha to Sidhartha is my coming and my going." It is a book of haunting beauty and depth of meaning. W. H. L./Bellevue
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your life!, July 26 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Paperback)
Wonderful story with beautifully written characters that you come to care about very much. It's a full-circle story that transcends space and time, and there is a eloquently told life-lesson for every person that reads this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, March 1 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
Hesse takes the reader on a fictional journey that parallels the life of the Buddha. However, profound human truths are at the core of the story. Very male-centred with little consideration of the female perspective, but interesting nonetheless.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Om, June 7 2004
By 
Christopher Nelson (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Paperback)
Review #334 (wow!). One of Hesse's most popular and accessible works, Siddhartha is his "Indic Poem" based on the life of a young Brahmin from an Indian village who leaves home to seek fulfillment. The novel is short, and in tone, more akin to Hesse's fairy-tales and "legends" (see, "The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse", Jack Zipes, 1995). As such, Siddhartha flows simply and magically, like an epic poem or sonata (for music, find Claude Viver's "Siddartha".)
When I first read this book I was younger, and focused on the departure from home aspect of the novel. The cold break from his father was disturbing and uncomfortable, yet necessary. But necessary for what? Every youth leaves home, but not all knowing (or caring) why. When I came back to this book recently, many years afterwards, I read it on a nearby mountain-top beside a stream in a sunny little grove, and found it incredibly fluid; almost perfect in structure and theme. Hesse's message is that one's own personal journey is more important than simply following another's learned doctrines, no matter how much you agree with them. Siddhartha comes to this conclusion after years and years of wandering in the forrests as an ascetic Samana ("Too much knowledge had hindered him...") and he understands that while knowledge and information may be taught and learned, wisdom must be gained through self-exploration. Of course it's useful and important to read, and learn from others, but unlike his friend Govinda, Siddhartha breaks from the Buddha's teachings not because he disagrees with him, but because he "understands him" (in fact, he is him - or, another "him").
His journey includes a life of the senses "amongst the people" with the lovely courtesan Kamala, and a business career with the merchant Kamaswami. Siddhartha (aka: the Buddha), must lose himself before finding himself again. Eventually, he finds himself by the river which he had crossed in the first part of the novel, and which is the central, binding motif of the story. Here, with the old ferryman Vasudeva, and after a last, tragic encounter with Kamala (and a son he never knew he had) he eventually learns to synthesize intellect with sense (parts I & II of the novel), and not to despise the cyclic world of illusions (i.e. Maya & Samsara), but rather to embrace it, and to accept it - and love it. The novel ends with the gesture of a kiss, and a beatific smile.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity Needs This Book, May 18 2004
By 
V. Marshall (North Fork, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
I would have never read this book had it not been for the advice from someone I admire greatly. It was highly recommended as a spiritual experience....so I tried it.
With all of the emphasis placed on religion today I found this book to inspire not religious practice but true inner peace and spiritual values comparable to many religious texts. This book has something to say and if you get it the message will follow you forever, yes it has that much impact on an open heart.
The story revolves around an Indian youth named Siddhartha, who with a restless heart and many questions attempts to experience the world before making a commitment to tradition. He struggles with the ties of family values and the pull of an unknown world. So he takes a plunge and leaves his security nest to find what life is all about. He works, he strives, he succeeds, he finds wealth, love and humanity but in the end all he really needs is peace of mind and freedom to choose his own path. Sounds achingly familiar to us all dosen't it?
I highly recommend you experience this book, for the beauty, the bravery and the freedom of choice. It will remain a part of your soul if you let it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars SIddhartha; a lesson for life, May 9 2004
By 
Alan Sandonato (Pittburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
Just like anyone who is growing up, there are questions unanswered and paths that are unsure. Siddhartha, an Indian boy (turning man) who doesn't know just where he fits in, captures this moment in life perfectly. Along his journey he experiments with different groups to find the exact leader who can teach him what he wants to know and needs to know to reach a state of spiritual peace. After abandoning his best friend, he falls head over heals for the lady of his dreams, Kamala, who he thinks can teach him the art of love and forgets everything that he has been searching for. This part of his life brings him to a crossroad where one way, he can be with Kamala for the rest of his life, or go the other road and finish his quest for Nirvana. I don't really want to give away too much more of the plot because that is what makes this story so enjoyable, knowing that he could end up anywhere at any given time.
I personally found this book to be an outstanding read. Only Hermann Hesse could pull off writing a 150 page book that has just as much to say as one three times its size. The writing was descriptive enough to keep your attention but not too descriptive to the point where you lost interest in it entirely (like most authors tend to do). Although we might not all be of the Eastern religion on our search for Nirvana, its still has relevancy to all of our lives in the way that we inevitably become confused on where we are going and what we are doing. Just as Siddhartha did, at the end of our journeys we too will all end up where we are planned to.
Although I found this book to be interesting it may not appeal to everyone. It's really lacking in action, and could be fairly slow to anyone who needs a bit of fighting thrown into the mix to pick them up every once in a while. But it definitely makes up for that in style.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It's a quick and very enjoyable and soothing read. It will keep you thinking about your future as well as keep you hoping to achieve your life goals just as Siddhartha did. Absolutely not a book to read just once, I know I'll come back and enjoy it for many years to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Siddhartha, May 4 2004
By 
Karen Dubbin (Bak Middle School Of the Arts) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
There are times in life when we begin to contemplate our existence and meditate upon our destinies. The book Siddhartha explores these moments that we all share in the form of one man's quest for truth, divinity, and the holy Om. We follow a young man, siddhartha, through many stages of his life: intellectualism, pleasures of the flesh, acquisitiveness, etc.
"Om is the bow, the arrow is the soul, Brahman is the arrow's goal At which one aims unflinchingly"
We are introduced to Siddhartha, when he is a young Brahmin, who appears content to anyone who looks upon him, but fights an internal struggle to attain his own sense of Nirvana. Siddhartha embarks on his journey by joining the Samana, a group of priests who deny themselves all worldly possessions and devote themselves to the quest for nirvana.
"Siddhartha had one single goal-to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow-to let the Self die."
This did not satisfy Siddhartha's need, why deny the Self pleasure? He developed a lust for a life filled with joy and complacency. Siddhartha attains this goal and yet is still not content. He resents the greed and power that overcomes him. Siddhartha finds himself itching for money; he begins playing games such as dice- a game that he originally saw folly in.
"The world had caught him; pleasure, covetousness, idleness, and finally also that vice that he had always despised and scorned as the most foolish- acquisitiveness. Property, possessions and riches had also finally trapped him. They were no longer a game and a toy; they had become a chain and a burden. Siddhartha wandered along a strange, twisted path of this last and most base declivity through the game of dice"
His journey next takes him to a river. At this river, Siddhartha nearly takes his own life. Rather than commit suicide, Siddhartha finds a home on the River, the River becomes his source of inner reflection. Siddhartha teaches himself to listen to what the river has to tell him, and in this, hears the answers that he coveted in his many years of searching. The river provides the climax to Siddhartha's contemplation of the mysteries of the universe.
"When Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to the song of a thousand voices; when he did not bind his soul to any one particular voice and absorb it in his Self, but heard them all, the whole, the unity; then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word:
Om-perfection."
The book forces you to ask more questions, than it cannot, in itself, answer. What is the meaning of our existence? Is it possible for us to ever really find true joy? This book provides insight to the world of eastern mysticism. I found it an extremely profound and enlightening book that will most definitely change your way of thinking upon reading it. Hermann Hesse uses remarkable descriptions. This book will linger in your mind for a lifetime.
"From a remote part of his soul, from the past of his tired life, he heard a sound. It was one word, one syllable, which without thinking he spoke indistinctly, the ancient beginning and ending of all Brahmin prayers, the holy Om, which had the meaning of 'The Perfect One' or 'Perfection'"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 234 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Siddhartha: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Siddhartha: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Hermann Hesse (Paperback - Dec 31 2002)
CDN$ 16.00 CDN$ 11.55
Usually ships in 1 to 2 months
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews