Daoism in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha Essay

Daoism in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha Essay

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Daoism, alternatively known as Taoism, is a religion originating in China, founded by Dao De Jing, that’s goal is to teach its followers to reach contentment by focusing on the “way.” This “way” is known as Dao, or Tao, which focuses on following the chain of events that occur in nature. Others define it as “the basic, eternal principle of the universe that transcends reality and is the source of being, non-being, and change.” Following Dao would bring the Daoist sage to become one with nature through meditation and leading a good, moral life. When a person becomes aligned with Dao, the said person acquires a certain virtue, this virtue is known as De, or Te. De is living an honorable life, filled with good deeds and graciousness, and it is believed by the Daoist that De will bring good fortune and blessings Daoism also focuses on a phrase called wu wei, which means “nonaction.” Wu Wei demonstrates that every natural object will do the right thing right when it needs to occur, similar to water, it follows its natural way of behaving without knowing it must go downstream. The goal of Wu Wei is to teach the Daoist to stop overthinking things, it leads the Daoist to reach natural, nonaggressive behavior. The Chinese phrase Pu also to do with natural, nonaggressive behavior. Pu means “simplicity,” or “uncarved block,” because Pu, just like all things in Daoism, is trying to reach peace or contentment. Pu focuses on taking things as they are, with no opinions and no labels, this leads you to live in harmony with nature. Reaching Pu is essential for anyone who wants to follow the Daoist religion. The cosmos, which Daoism often focuses on by going along with its events, are made up of something called Qi/Chi. Qi/Chi is tra...


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...brought him great frustration because his son did not love him back, but both were necessary in order to keep his son. “Siddhartha waited for a long time-many months- to see his son understand him, accept his love, or perhaps reciprocate it. Vasudeva watched and waited for long months, and said nothing.”(p.92)
It is very clear that Daoism is a prominent factor in the book Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, as proven in the above textual references and explanations. Siddhartha, the main character, experienced the Dao, followed it, and achieved enlightenment. His following of nature followed key aspects of Daoism, because he became one with the way. Although the key words are not spoken, you can look into the text and discover Daoism, as Siddhartha found through Vasudeva’s teachings.


Works Cited

Hesse, Hermann, Siddhartha, New Delhi: Rupa Publications, 2003

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