- Siddhartha believed that wisdom could only be attained by experience. How did his experiences lead him to nirvana?
- Describe the three stages of Siddhartha's life, and how all three stages were necessary for his attainment of wisdom.
2. THE SAMANAS & THE BUDDHISTS
- Describe the lives of the samanas and the Buddhists.
- How did each try to attain nirvana?
- Why did Siddhartha leave these teachings?
- Why is Govinda considered Siddhartha's shadow?
- Why did Govinda stay with the Buddha?
- Compare and contrast their paths to enlightenment.
4. MATERIAL LIFE
- Why is Kamala a central figure in Siddhartha's life?
- What role does she play in this novel?
- Explain the purpose of the middle chapter - material life and Kamaswami.
- Analyze the symbolism in Siddhartha's two dreams.
5. VASUDEVA & THE RIVER
- What is the role of Vasudeva, the ferryman? (Vasudeva is another name for Lord Krishna).
- The river is a vital symbol in this novel. What is the function of the river and how is it associated with timelessness?
- How is this sense of "timelessness" critical to the Buddhist understanding of life?
- Explain Vasudeva's statement, "everything returns."
- What is the sound of "OM?" Why does Vasudeva encourage Siddhartha to learn to listen to the river, listen to "OM?"
6. THE FATHER-SON THEME
- Discuss the father-son theme in the book (2 fathers, 2 sons).
- Describe little Siddhartha.
- How are little Siddhartha and his father similar or different?
- How does Siddhartha come to the realization that love can cure his soul sickness?
- Describe his feelings toward self-love and loving others.