Tuesday, August 26, 2008
“…a Buddha preaching in European clothes and without a lotus-flower…” (pg. 6)
Buddha is the corner-stone of a primarily-Eastern practiced religion known as Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama is widely recognized as the Supreme Buddha and founder of Buddhism and it is his passed down oral teachings that form the rules of Buddhism. After his death, the image of Siddhartha was changed slightly and magnified. Siddhartha was raised as a prince and shielded from any knowledge of human suffering or pain. When he was about thirty, Siddhartha learned of death and eventually left his home to find enlightenment and live a simpler life. His life and teachings reached many people and he died (or simply moved onto a new stage of life, leaving his Earthly body behind) with many followers who continued to practice in the vein of his teachings.
EDIT: Conrad uses the image of Buddha to describe Marlow because he, much like the holy idea of Buddha, he has essentially lived many lives within one lifetime. As Marlow tells about the Congo, the reader gets the feeling that his entire story was (to him) forever ago. Buddha was regarded as a very peaceful being, someone who lived a long life and suffered to understand how other people felt. Marlow has been through "tough times" but now seems very at peace with his history and life, much like a modern Buddha.