The Romantic Buddism (1)


Year after year of lessons on the Romantics, in particular those of the first generation, a question has recently taken shape in my mind : “but were these Coleridge and Wordworth a kind of Buddhists?” I knooooooow it’s hazarduous and I have to confess that my knowledge of Buddism is actually basic: I’ve read Thomas Mann’s Siddharta and the Autobiography of a Yogi  (it’s not the bear) about  the Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, that is all. But I want to try to outline an analysis anyhow. Well, Buddhism is a religion /philosophy based on the teachings attributed to Siddharta Gauthama, who is commonly known as the Buddha (the awakened). For the Buddhists he is the enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help men end sufferings through the elimination of ignorance by way of understanding and the elimination of craving, thus attaining the highest happiness: Nirvana. Wow, but this the Indian version of the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads!!! Rewind:the poet/Buddha is the enlightened man with that superior sensibility/imagination that he uses to teach men how to feel emotions so as to better bear the inevitable sufferings of life, thus reaching happiness. He is a poet and poetry is his weapon. Coleridge in particular, had understood that the burden of our ” Wants” – see the post on the “Wedding Guest” – can’t help us understand the true nature of happiness and confounds us. Siddharta seemed to have whatever life had to offer: he was young, handsome, rich and, naturally, admired and envied at the same time. That wasn’t enough for him. He wanted more. So he got rid of that burden of things to be free to choose his way. This is  exactly the same choice of St Francis of Assisi and in more modern times that of Alexander Supertramp, the protagonist of the movie Into the Wild. Have you ever felt the craving for “things” as a burden?


2 thoughts on “The Romantic Buddism (1)

  1. Well, I don’t know so much Buddhism and its features, but reading this post, yeah, that’s pretty much like Wordsworth’s Preface! I won’t repeat what has just been written, I just want to say that I totally agree.
    Just while I was reading about Siddharta and his getting rid of the burden of things, I though about Francesco D’Assisi, and there he is just in the next line. Hahahahaha I wanted to be the first to think about him. But, well, Francesco D’assisi inspires in me a kind of scepticism, maybe that’s not his fault, maybe it’s about the institution “Church”.. (just a personal cosideration..).
    Anyway, maybe the only difference between Buddhism and Romanticism is that oppium probably it’s no really widespread among buddhists hahahaha instead Coleridge..poor devil, he had backache!
    But there’s another feature about the Buddhism which reminds me Thomas Gray: the nonexistance of an eternal “I”, anybody breaks apart at his death. In substance, we’re all the same in front of death.
    And now we can easily talk about the “wants”. If I ever felt craving for things as a burden? Yes, yes. Unfortunately, but yes. Well I think that more or less everybody, in our own small we have those useless little things we’re not able to put off. Just those things which bring us away from the Nirvana. But that’s more powerful than us. We’re all sons of blobalization. We have to stand out ourself. Everytime we say that we have to be unique, inimitable! So inimitable that just that uniqueness has become a trend. And here we are, at the starting point again. Beehee, we’re all meeks. Oh, but I don’t only criticize the others, I criticize myself too! I confess sometime I preferred to feel carefull, instead of make a run. (make a run = buttarsi, isn’t it?). But growing up, raising my head, and watching out of my window, I think and I hope I’m making a run more and more. Above all writing, also here, with the snags of the language and the various common saying though in italian.
    A trip like the Alexander’s one, that’s my dream. But no, it would be a mistake. It would be just an imitation of the road chosen by someone else. Everybody has to choose his own unique dirt road. Upward, downward, returning at the start and beginning again and again, suffice it is OUR road. But this is just theory. And I think I know pretty good the theory. The practice? I began in my own small, but I think that’s my moment to get in my pick up (returning at the concept of “dirt road”).
    Yeah, I like the metaphora of the pick up. It get me hyped.

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