“You have listened well to the teachings, O Brahmin’s son, and it is a credit to you that you have thought so deeply about them. You have found a flaw. Think well about it again. Let me warn you, you who are thirsty for knowledge, against the thicket of opinions and the conflict of words. Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them.”
This is by far my favorite part of the novel. Even though the Buddha is seen as all wise, all knowledgeable, he does not feel conflict as Siddhartha attacks his idea of teaching. Instead he listens to Siddhartha, and respects his decision to search for his enlightenment on his own. In fact, he even seems to feel pride for Siddhartha. For that Siddhartha was smart enough to realize what he, the Illustrious One, realized years before, and at such a young age.
This quote also speaks to the lies that lie between what is fact and what is opinion. When one is in search of knowledge, he or she must know how to tell the difference between the two. Opinions can easily mislead one into beginning on a path he or she should not follow. For, an opinion is a belief of only one or even just a few people. It is based on how it makes someone feel, how someone thinks, but as seen throughout the world, not all people think the same things are right or just.
This is why we have evil in the world. This is why the temptations are alive to mislead the purest of people off of their path. The difference must be seen, must be known, so that we can analyze all aspects of life.