Siddhartha is one of the first novels that introduced Buddhism to Western audiences. Written in 1922 by Hermann Hesse, it is a fast read about a man who seeks enlightenment through alternating paths of asceticism and hedonism.

Man imitates, but does not understand

A thousand disciples hear his teachings every day, and follow his regulations every hour, but they are all falling leaves; they do not possess the doctrine and the law within themselves.

Your current situation is transitory

Where is Siddhartha the Brahman? Where is Siddhartha the samana [ascetic]? Where is Siddhartha the rich man? Transitory things change swiftly, Govinda, as you know.

Wisdom cannot be learned, only experienced

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness.

You are but a small part of the whole

I learned from my body and my soul that I was in great need of sin; I needed sensual pleasures, the ambition for possessions, vanity, and I needed the most humiliating despair in order to learn how to give up my resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to cease comparing it with some world of my wishes or my imagination, with some type of perfection that I had concocted, but to leave it the way it is, to love it, and to be a part of it gladly.

Life is meant to be lived

Words do no good to the secret meaning; everything always immediately becomes a little different when you express it, a little falsified, a little foolish.

A man must enjoy his own treasure

I am also perfectly contented that one person’s treasure of wisdom always sounds like foolishness to someone else.

Siddhartha was a pleasant book that put many Buddhist practices into story form. I recommend it if you’re interested in Eastern philosophy.

Read More: “Siddhartha” on Amazon


  1. meistergedanken March 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    As a young man I was a huge fan of Hesse (“The Glass Bead Game”, anyone?). But as alluring as his “Eastern Wisdom”-tinged works can be, his more deliberate foray into Buddhism is hardly convincing. Perhaps that is the fault of Buddhism itself, which suffers from several philosophical drawbacks. But to address the content of your essay directly:

    “Wisdom cannot be learned, only experienced. Wisdom cannot be imparted.”

    Well with all due respect, just what the fuck are you doing with this website, then?!? Apparently wasting the last couple years of your life, if that absurd assertion is true.

    “I am also perfectly contented that one person’s treasure of wisdom always sounds like foolishness to someone else.”
    Wisdom cannot exist unless it is suffused with Truth. To imply that “one man’s wisdom is another man’s foolishness” is to fall prey to the liberals’ sick ideology that Truth is subjective, and therefore malleable instead of immutable. Truth and wisdom are objective, and do not change just because it comes out of the mouth of a different person, and it remains the same regardless of who is examining it. Indeed, it may not be examined by anyone – yet still it exists. It is only due to the solipsistic nature of modern Man and the poisoned culture he produced that we are tempted to believe otherwise.

    1. James March 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      I interpret the saying about wisdom to mean that you can’t just tell someone wise sayings and that in and of itself makes them wise. The information in the wise sayings must be internalized and that only happens when a persons experience and personal investigation reveals what exactly is so wise about the wise sayings. When I first heard Forrest Gump say, “Stupid is as stupid does,” it sounded strange to my ears. But now that I’ve had a chance to meditate on the saying and apply it to my experience, I believe it to be one of the most profoundly wise and true sayings ever uttered by a human being on planet earth. My own process for becoming wise is this: Investigate, cogitate, meditate, repeat.”

      1. Chad Linn March 11, 2017 at 8:04 am

        There is no substitute for learning through experience, although, advance warning doesn’t hurt.

    2. Da Mac March 3, 2017 at 3:38 am

      Interesting take, thanks.

      By the way, every religion suffers from several philosophical drawbacks, or even many more than several as in the case of Islam and Hinduism.

    3. Marcos_Brazil March 4, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Excellent point. Roosh is unable to see the contradiction. Not enough wisdom, perhaps.

    4. Roberto March 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Wisdom can only be attained, not taught. Only knowledge can be taught. Wisdom is a bit different from knowledge. Wisdom is the type of thing Roosh and the game community tries to cultivate by getting us to get off our asses and oractice what we learn. To become well versed in the game, one must experience and practice it – not merely pretend to know it. That, is the essence of the quote.

      The essence of the quote, which makes complete sense if you read the book, is that there are certain things that make sense only after they have been experienced. Like when a kid in high school is told that high school is not the entire universe. He hears it, duly notes it, but never truly understands until he leaves High school and realizes that the world is much, much bigger and much, much harder. And so it is with many things. Thats why they say that wisdom is gained through experience.

      You would be right that Roosh’s entire website is a waste of time, if it were not for the fact that he constantly asks us not to just sit at home – but to go out and practice. In other words – experience it. I don’t see the quote as incompatible at all, but rather feel that it fits right into it.

      Lastly, let me say I highly recommend Siddhartha. I read it at a difficult point in life and it gave me an inner reservoir of energy. Left me with a perspective I will never lose.

      1. meistergedanken March 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Oh I’ve read it, but it’s been probably 25 years so I don’t recall it with crystal clarity. Perhaps Roosh could have presented it better, too. I’m not saying his website is a waste – I think for some men it’s invaluable, and deserves a wider audience. I’m just not convinced of the philosophical compatibility here.

    5. Johnny Perez March 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Its true that the book in many parts sounds a lot like, just do whatever the fuck you want, I think the reason why Hesse wrote it that way why is because for buddhists ascetism works, but only when you have experienced life, man does not have to start negating himself anything. The legend of the Buddha is praticaly about a rich hedonistic young man who renounces everything. And I agree, lots of the baloney you hear from the left is like this sort of speech. But for buddhist, and i may be wrong here, wisdom or truth or whatever is something that is experience, it cannot be imparted, language is innefable. As far as i know, and id like to get more into it, meditation books are thought as some kind of path, you do x thing and you expect y to happen, but thats what im saying you have to graspe the so called experience. Only when you have walked throught some part of life do you start to understand why your father used to tell you x or y, and only when somebody else suffers what you have suffered does he starts to understand why you used to talk about x topic like that. But i may be wrong. Here is a buddhist saying “If you wish to know the taste of seawater and you live on an island, set out towards the coast and keep going. When you reach the seashore all you then need to do is to bend down, put the finger into the water, and then into the mouth and you will know the taste of all the seven seas. So it is with freedom, it has but one single taste.”

      1. meistergedanken March 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

        That is a thoughtful comment. Hesse’s novel “Narcissus and Goldmund” is quite similar in theme, although not quite as engrossing. Even the “Glass Bead Game” features a character who is “of the world” and indulges in the pleasures and pain it has to offer. Hesse seems to vacillate somewhat over his writing career as to whether the idealist should be fully engaged in the world and the flesh OR if he should just experience it as a “phase” to be left behind at the appropriate time, as St. Paul wrote,”When I was a child, I understood as a child and spake as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

  2. pinetree March 1, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, that was the first book I read as I wondered through Europe. In the 1980s and 22 years old. I was in London, England at the time. Out of the book I wrote my first song — which only recently was finished and I am getting a nice response. The book also inspired me learn how to fast — like Siddartha did. Which I still do today and it has many health benefits. Great Pick Roosh. Well done.

    1. Marshallaw March 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      How do you fast? 2 days a week? I did that for a while….. felt great for a while…. then fell back into regular eating habits….

    2. OceanSon March 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      That’s just about the perfect age to read “Siddhartha.”
      I read it at 25 and felt like I was just a few years late in receiving its consolidated wisdom. It’s kind of like “Catcher in the Rye” — reading it at 18 or 19 is much more important than reading it at 28 or 29.

      Afterward I went on to read “Narcissus and Goldmund” and some others by Hesse, but “Siddhartha” stuck in my long-term memory bank due to its relevance.

  3. Melissa Jane March 1, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    No mud, no lotus.

  4. RedPillPaul March 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    if buddhist are for no attachments, why are they so attached to their belifes?

    1. Gunnar Thalweg March 2, 2017 at 3:43 am

      They address that.

  5. Gunnar Thalweg March 2, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Thanks for the memories.

    I went through a Hesse phase in the late 80s. Loved it at the time. Because a Buddhist, and then eventually moved on from there to Catholicism.

  6. Aurelius March 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Roosh or anyone else who cares to answer,

    Is Game simply the practice of passing shit tests?

    1. Risarm March 11, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Game is primarily a mindset. Compare with an entrepreneur. Is his only aim to make money? True entrepreneurs want skill and they can make money they want. Similarly, game helps you develop the mindset that you can get whatever girl you want and no girl is out of your league. Money to an entrepreneur is sex vis-à-vis game. You need sex and money to validate yourself at the start. Once you realize that you don’t need externalities for validation, you rule.

  7. Marcos_Brazil March 4, 2017 at 11:56 am

    What a bunch of silly clichés.
    Sounds like a new age woman talking.
    Of course wisdom can be learned, that’s the whole idea behind books and especially in Western religion. Most people experience life for 80 years and die fools.
    Eastern religion is flawed because it rests on the idea of opening your mind to spiritual rape by demonic entities , what they call experience, in the hope you will be enlightened. You won’t.

    1. OceanSon March 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Have you ever wandered existentially as a young man? The only way it transcends “silly clichés” is if it actually resonates with something that has been tugging at your own thoughts/consciousness (or reflects your own actions/path toward enlightenment) as you try to make your way through life in the hectic passage from youth to manhood. IMO, the book is age-specific and loses impact if you read it as an older man who is set in his ways.

  8. TSK March 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Lose all emotional attachment to things, people and events.

    Just understand all that exist is you and nothing else.

    You want something, you take it.

    1. BAT 21 March 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      You got it!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Mencken's Ghost March 5, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Siddartha was Hesse’s book I least liked. “Demian” was much better: “I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?” . . . and “Narcissus and Goldmund”: “Because the world is so full of death and horror, I try again and again to console my heart and pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell.” And: “’Never again!’ commanded his will. ‘Again! Tomorrow!’ begged his heart.”

    To be fair, I read Siddartha in my mid-teens, when Kurt Vonnegut was much more accessible to me. When forced to read Orwell’s “1984” in junior highschool, it utterly bypassed me. Now, it’s a bible.

  10. Homine March 7, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Hidden knowledge in Buddhism, secret meanings in front of their eyes, that readers will not understand, but will think they almost do.

    Enlightenment, when you have no desires for enlightenment.
    When you do not desire pleasure, you are tempted the most.
    When you seek enlightenment, you find attraction in darkness.
    Once you get to enjoy darkness then you are tempted with emptiness.
    … etc. etc.

  11. BAT 21 March 13, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I read the book many years ago and what Hesse was also trying to say is that you don’t have to go away to find pussy and a clear head!. Siddartha went away in part to find himself and found the pussy and himself!

  12. skillett April 7, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I think Buddhism is helpful for harmonizing ones inner self and feelings. I actually use Tibetan Buddhist music in the background for my morning meditation. But the content for me is Christian. I kind of see a need for the eastern mysticism to be grafted on to Christianity just like Greek philosophy was grafted onto early Christianity culminating with the Enlightenment and Intellectual Age.

    But now we are moving into an age of the deep psyche. Looking beyond (above and below the intellect and conscious mind.). We need to bring enlightned Christ Consciousness from far deeper than that of mere philosophical reason. It must permeate the soul and deep psyche. I suspect that it will be necessary for Christianity to reach as far inward as the Hindu yogi who can make his heart beat 4 times a minute, leave his body and experience the spirit world.

    This deepening of the realm of conscious (and yes war between good and evil ) can be seen everywhere. Decisions are no longer about logic or policy but rather the target is the deep psyche of the masses. And the individual. It is as the culture is less about the king and more about the priest (be it secular or religious or black magician such as Aleister Crowley).

    Elites, both benevolent and malevolent, are concerned with MAGIK. The CIA, Tavistok, Frankfort Schoool, Rand Corporation are vying for you to let you into your mind so they can be your priest and spiritual guide.

    Rudolf Steiner called the age we are living in that of the Conscciousness Soul. Into which we have been in for several hundred years now. We are leaving the era of the Intellectual Soul which was concerned with more with the intellect and philosophy.