Brady F. Anderson


I feel like religious figures have an air of holiness attached to them that almost removes their humanity. Siddartha does just the opposite. If anything stuck with me from this book, it was just how understandable Siddarhta’s life was. His life in a nutshell: He defied his parents, let a job he didn’t find fulfilling shape his identity, contemplated suicide, loved a woman, had a son who defied him and found wisdom working later in life. That story, of a life well-lived, is what makes this book so brilliant.

My Notes

It is not enough to have deep knowledge; one must also live it.

You may be able to escape yourself in meditation, drunkenness, voluntary suffering, work, and more. Eventually, you are bound to return.

When speaking with the Buddha, Gotama, Siddartha had one big issue with his lessons. In them, the Buddha could not transmit the experience of salvation, for the Buddha himself had not reached Nirvana through mere teachings. He decided one can convey knowledge but not wisdom. Even though they were the best teachings in the world, Siddhartha left to forge his path at that point.

When walking away from the Buddha, Siddartha found he has been trying to escape the agony of being himself. It was then when he decided to study himself, and he began to have a moment of intense awareness as he walked away, aimlessly, from town.

When Siddartha began working as a merchant, he was removed emotionally from the whole operation. He was able to look at it as a game and had the independence of his mind, actions, and emotions as a result.

Siddartha looked back on the pain and disgust he saw in his actions as a gift. At that moment he could be reborn, see the world through new eyes, because of those mistakes.

“He saw, this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always at all times the same and yet new in every moment.” This quote feels like the reason meditation loves to focus on the breath, always there but always new.

Our parents want us to learn the same things they have without feeling the pain of mistakes they’ve endured. Yet we will and have defied them, and then foolishly maintain the same hopes for our kids. Letting your children forge their wisdom seems like one of the most difficult parts of being a parent.

Siddartha did not look down upon the people he later saw playing the game of life. Even though their actions were slave to desire, they were still worthy of love.

Searching too much hinders your ability to find.

Focus on learning to love the world, not to understand or explain the world.