4 Noble Truths
1. Existence is suffering
Novel: "Siddhartha had begun to feel the seeds of discontent within him" (Hesse 5). The seeds of life will sprout into a living being and live a life tainted with suffering. My motivation for this shot was to accurately capture a dead being that was once thriving with life. The quote describes a condemned seedling that is forced to bear a suffering life. Siddhartha is the most privileged prince among the Brahmins but is yet miserable. Everyone suffers, no matter how many comforts. The novel states, "But Siddhartha himself was not happy...He had begun to feel that the love...would not always make him happy, give him peace, satisfy, and suffice him" (Hesse 5). Siddhartha is envied among the others and "Love stirred in the hearts of the young Brahmins' daughters... with his king-like eyes" (Hesse 4). Although the protagonist lives a splendid and prideful life, he himself is suffering for the yearning of life's knowledge.
2. Suffering arises from desire
Novel: "Silently Siddhartha stood in the fierce sun's rays, filled with pain and thirst..." (Hesse 14). Just like the tree, Siddhartha is influenced by the sun's melting rays. The inspiration for this picture came from the similar role the sun plays in both the novel and photo. Siddhartha practices deprivation and pain through his torturous desire to learn the path to Nirvana. He suffers because he tries desperately to eliminate the Self. "He traveled the way of self-denial through pain, through voluntary suffering, and conquering of pain, through hunger, thirst, and fatigue" (Hesse 15). Siddhartha endured the fierce sun's rays, freezing rain, and thorns in effort to lose the Self.
3. Suffering ends when desire ends
Novel: "Here and there they sat under the trees, lost in meditation or engaged in spirited talk. The shady gardens were like a town..." (Hesse 27). The enchanting scenery of the magnificent grove influenced this shot of small, green grasses. The monks meditated and wandered around the shady gardens, showcasing the powerful effect of living in nature. Siddhartha sees that the Buddha has achieved the ideal state of bliss and peace he seeks. The Buddha is no longer suffering; he seeks nothing and has a peaceful aura. "And so Gotama wandered into the town...his complete peacefulness of demeanor, by the stillness of his form, in which there was no seeking, no will, no counterfeit, no effort, only light and peace" (Hesse 28). The Illustrious One has a childlike and serene countenance that results from his attainment of Nirvana.
4. The path to end desire is the Eightfold Path
Novel: "Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his path, for the world was transformed and he was enthralled...He saw trees, stars, animals, clouds, rainbows, rocks, weeds, flowers, brook and river..." (Hesse 45). This quote inspired the photograph of nature because by embracing and respecting the world, it opens one's eyes to the holiness of life. By following the Eightfold path, Siddhartha is able to comprehend the unity of all life, Nirvana and Samsara, and the entwined voices of the world. "Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards" (Hesse 42). Siddhartha has chosen not to be a follower of Buddha and is ready to follow his own path, the Eightfold path, to Nirvana.