We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha Chapter 3 Summary

  • Siddhartha and Govinda arrive in a Jetavana grove, which is the happening spot for Gotama Buddha.
  • They spend the night; in the morning they find that a massive crowd has gathered to hear the Buddha speak. Siddhartha and Govinda are immediately able to identify the Buddha (he’s the godly one) among the crowd of Yellow-Robed Men. There are a lot of Yellow-Robed Men.
  • The Buddha appears endlessly peaceful, light, quiet, and contented.
  • Although Siddhartha feels there is little new information he can learn from the Buddha’s teachings, he intently studies the Buddha’s behavior.
  • The Buddha teaches all the usual stuff, including the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold path. Govinda asks to be accepted into his community of followers.
  • Govinda is accepted and urges Siddhartha to join him.
  • While Siddhartha recognizes the Buddha’s holiness, he believes enlightenment must be experienced, not taught.
  • The two men stop in the woods to speak with the Buddha.
  • Siddhartha admires the Buddha’s teaching that the world is a complete, unbroken chain of cause and effect. However, he doesn’t understand the doctrine of salvation and escape from the world if in fact the world is eternally one.
  • The Buddha admits the flaw, but reminds Siddhartha that the goal of his teachings is to relieve suffering, not to describe the universe.
  • Siddhartha argues the impossibility of reaching enlightenment via others’ teachings. Enlightenment, Siddhartha says, is something a man must do alone.
  • The Buddha smiles and departs.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...