The Dharma Bums eBook ↠ The Dharma PDF \


The Dharma Bums ❴BOOKS❵ ✮ The Dharma Bums Author Jack Kerouac – Thomashillier.co.uk Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma or truth Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma or truth Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude a lesson that has a hard time surviving their forays into the pagan groves of San Francisco's bohemia with its marathon wine drinking bouts poetry jam sessions experiments The Dharma PDF \ in yabyum and other non ascetic pastimesThis autobiographical novel appeared just a year after the author's explosive On the Road put the Beat generation on the literary map and Kerouac on the best seller lists The same expansiveness humor and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novel ignites this one.


10 thoughts on “The Dharma Bums

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    That's a completely nostalgic four stars of course Has there been a writer whose reputation has plummeted uite so much between the 70s and now as jolly Jack and his tales of merry misogynism? But like Bob Dylan saysWhile riding on a train goin’ westI fell asleep for to take my restI dreamed a dream that made me sadConcerning myself and the first few friends I hadWith half damp eyes I stared to the roomWhere my friends and I spent many an afternoonWhere we together weathered many a stormLaughin’ and singin’ till the early hours of the mornWith haunted hearts through the heat and coldWe never thought we could ever get oldWe thought we could sit forever in funBut our chances really was a million to oneAs easy it was to tell black from whiteIt was all that easy to tell wrong from rightAnd our choices were few and the thought never hitThat the one road we traveled would ever shatter and splitWell that was me and my pals I know where each of them are to this day but we don't see each other The choices multiplied and it became no longer easy to tell black from white Back then we built a whole galaxy of heroes up from wild trips to the art house cinema to uarry Bergman or Pasolini from the granite cliffs of existentialism or raids on libraries and second hand bookshops when we got to hear first about Kerouac and Kesey not to mention Tolkien and Mervyn Peake not to mention Emily Dickinson and Captain Beefheart and folk music and Alan Lomax and Alan Watts and John Fahey and Buffy Sainte Marie In those days every discovery hit like an express train and every bookshelf held high explosives Life is not lived at that intensity for too many years So forgive me for my four stars for Kerouac the old bum the old broke down disgraced beat with his typing not writing and every other reviewer on this site liking to put the boot in and justified too really they're not good books would I recommed any young person with any marbles to read nearly the whole of Kerouac's pile of typing as I myself did? NO Read almost anything BUT Kerouac But my half damp eyes are staring back to that room It was on Willow Road in Carlton You can find it on Google Earth but some other people live there now


  2. Joan Joan says:

    Too much bum not enough dharma


  3. Leile Brittan Leile Brittan says:

    This was really a pleasant surprise After making my way through On the Road and a few other things by Kerouac I had come to the conclusion that the dude is a hack and that the other Beats were really on some way better shit I just couldn't feel that rambling ass style that he writes in even though I acknowledge that it was a conscious decision of his to write that way I get it he writes the way he travels making uick decisions and trying to be spontaneous and spiritual But to me it's kind of just a garbage decision stylisticallypersonally I like writers to show a little discipline and take heed to the laws of grammar and punctuation Plus I think he was just drunk half the time I write a lot of stuff when I'm drunk too it doesn't mean I would try and get it published unless I sat down and edited the fuck out of it with a clear head one day Drugs and booze can be good for the creative process but at some point you've got to sit down and get serious whittle down your ideas to a respectable formWhich is what I think Kerouac did here There is some great writing in Dharma Bums and even when he rambles it flows with the ease and beauty of a rolling freight train or a babbling brook Finally you feel like one of Kerouac's characters have gained something useful and spiritual from the life of being a hobo Ray Smith the protagonist embodies the strengths and faults of a lot of guys I know myself included sometimes I only wish I could have been around in the days where the happily homeless poets would congregate in San Francisco and talk about the kind of shit that these guys do Sadly the days where stuff like this happens in America are pretty much long gone I fearI think I will take a second look at some Kerouac after being pretty durn impressed by this Namely Big Sur is now on the list After taking in The Dharma Bums and the fantastic introduction which was included in the edition I read I feel a newfound respect for what Jack K did and the legacy he left behind He was far from perfect and a lot of the writing and relationships he left behind make this than evident But than anything I think Kerouac was honest about everything including his own self demise which he foreshadows eerily in parts of this novel If honesty was his main goal as a writer in that respect he was definitely a successOne last thing I found cool about The Dharma Bums a lot of American cultural references are derived from this novel Not only from the hippies and the neo hippies but this is a very influential work in terms of modern artistry The Anticon Records rapperspoets collective including Dose One Why? and others referenced this book heavily in a lot of their stuff during the late 90'searly 2000's Experimental Hip Hop Rennaissance Lines like Fresh bus station waterand it all ends up in tears anyway were lifted directly from the text and put onto all these weird hip hop records I've been listening to for the past decade I had no idea these were uotes from Dharma Bums but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised Life and art tend to have circular ualities indeed


  4. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    Jack Kerouac The Dharma Bums Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa BarbaraKerouac gives us the rambling masterpiece of a sentence with no punctuation and yet chock full of description and character The povertyliberty of hopping a freight the locale firmly rooted in hippy California Los Angeles Santa Barbara the laziness of contemplating the clouds all of these are central to the narrator's character and his attitude He is one with the road we rolled north and in a meditative mood and this feeling saturates every page of this rollicking humorous orgasmic Beat classic Just reading the phrase makes me want to throw off all the yokes of society andok enough of thatand on to the last one


  5. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    Yeah man you know to me a mountain is a Buddha Think of the patience hundreds of thousands of years just sitting there bein perfectly perfectly silent and like praying for all living creaturs in that silence and just wwaiting for us to stop all our frettin and foolin Jack Kerouac The Dharma BumsI recently started going to a weekly Kadampa Buddhism and meditation class at a local Unitarian church with a friend of mine I'm far too skeptical to jump into or out of religions easily but I have been attracted to secular Buddhism for awhile for years I used to tell people I was a Zen Mormon Anyway this recent flirtation with meditation has launched me back into authors I haven't visited in a while The last Kerouac I've read was 20 years ago and I never read The Dharma Bums so I figured it was a good place to start The novel is based losely on Kerouac Ray Smith and his relationship with Gary Snyder Japhy Ryder The book was an early shot in the counter culture movement that included Buddhism the hippy lifestyle mountaineering etc Having grown up in Utah California etc there has always been a resonance from this period I remember friends of mine in HS and college hitchhiking riding the rails and heading into the mountains to commune nearly naked with nature We were basically just kids playing at Buddhism and sometimes it feels like Kerouac was too I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not reading a cliché; that these are the guys who really started a lot of this These are the beats the generation that helped expand and energize the SF RenaissanceAnyway I enjoyed it; for the beats the bums the Buddhism and yes even the bullshit


  6. Lynne King Lynne King says:

    Enfant terrible a uniue individual jazz lover and a poet; this book was written when Jack Kerouac was thirty six years old He was at the forefront of the Beat Generation in California in the fifties through to his death in 1969 at the age of forty sevenI kept on telling myself this is not my kind of book and I’m not enjoying myself but who was I trying to kid Yes it’s “raw in thought” but spirituality flows throughout even though the catholic faith is viewed through the eyes of Zen BuddhismI have no doubt that Kerouac's own uniue background ie the “gene pool” was responsible for bringing to life an individual who loved company but who could also be than content to spend time on his own thinking about nature and the wonders of our planet I can so readily euate to this factIt was interesting to read that Kerouac's parents Leo and Gabrielle were immigrants from uebec Canada; and that Kerouac learned to speak French at home before he learned English at schoolThe first paragraph in the introduction to the book could not have been uoted better as to how I came to arrive at my own views about Jack Kerouac“When Gary Snyder the Zen poet immortalized as ‘Japhy Ryder’ in The Dharma Bums first met Jack Kerouac in San Francisco in the fall of 1955 he sensed about him ‘a palpable aura of fame and death’ ”This is indeed a “magical mystery tour” which accesses the innermost recesses of this author’s inuisitive stimulating but also soul searching mind and dare I say it an individual who was freuently inebriated This “mystery” is shown in Ray Smith’s I believe this is Jack Kerouac himself life who makes massive treks 3000 miles across the United States; his adventures passing through Mexico back into the US and then taken by a trucker Beaudry was his name back into Mexico; who offered to give him a ride if in exchange he could show the trucker hot spots such as the Mexican whore houses Ray went along with this as it was all part and parcel of his journey to Rocky Mount North Carolina where he was planning to spend Christmas with his mother“ Roll up roll up for the magical mystery tour step right this wayRoll up roll up for the mystery tourRoll up and that’s an invitation up for the mystery tourRoll up to make a reservation roll up for the mystery tourThe magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away”This work had the most profound effect on me both emotionally and spiritually and with the spectacular suicide of Rosie caused me to sink to uite a low level of despondency within myselfRay was happy in San Francisco and had gone over “to Rosie’s place to see Cody and Rosie” Cody was worried about her “She says she wrote out a list of all our names and all our sins she says and then tried to flush them down the toilet where she works and the long list of paper stuck in the toilet and they had to send for some sanitation character to clean up the messshe’s nuts”Believing that she and her friends were all done for Rosie slashes her wrists and was taken care of however she had obviously made up her mind what she had to do because she returns home and dramatically states to Ray“This is my last night on earth” and indeed her suicide was truly spectacularRay was always a worry for his friends This is shown with Japhy’s concerns about his friend’s drinking habits just before he goes off to Japan“ ‘You’re just drinking too much all the time I don’t see how you’re even going to gain enlightenment and stay out of the mountains you’ll always be coming down the hill spending your bean money on wine and finally you’ll end up lying in the street in the rain dead drunk and then they’ll take you away and you’ll have to be reborn a teetotalin bartender to atone for your karma’Ray immediately thought “He was really sad about it and worried about me and I just went on drinking”Ray also considered himself a “religious wanderer” who loved to meditate“One night I was meditating in such perfect stillness that two mosuitoes came and sat on each of my cheekbones and stayed there for a long time without biting and then went away without biting”There’s humor yodeling whilst hiking up the Matterhorn with Japhy and Henry Morley whom Ray found mad and also boring; still the poets were having a great time; wistfulness Japhy and his meditation his “Bodhisattvas sexual expression with free love depression beauty all pervade this book Knowing though that Ray was partial to his alcohol I wondered what “spiritual” state he was in when he was writing thisThinking about this work brings to mind a reporter I once knew in Fleet Street London He best reporting was always achieved after he’d had a “liuid lunch” and the words just poured like “pearls from heaven” Unfortunately this literary genius ended with an early demiseSo in conclusion we have here a highly religious Catholicism man who had a joy for life poetry and Zen Buddhism It was this religion that was the bedrock of all his ideas; be it in nature thoughts friends families and all the wonders of our universe So what compelled such a talented individual to cross the final boundary and relentlessly slide and fall towards his own self afflicted decline to the inevitable leading to such an early death in his forties? Was the devil within him I wonderDue to this I must read his first book “On the Road” but I’ve been told that it’s not as good as Kerouac’s second Well I’ll judge that for myself It was such a pleasure for me reading this book and such a cause for reflection of our own lives


  7. Gabrielle Gabrielle says:

    I was super into Kerouac in college – which I supposed is the time in one’s life where you are supposed to be into Kerouac Re reading “On the Road” in my thirties might not have been my best idea because it served only to show me how drastically my perspective on things had changed in a decade and how Jack’s freewheeling madness might have been occasionally beautiful but it had also had tragic conseuences I couldn’t ignore I thought about putting his books away for good but I found I couldn’t because of how strong an impression he had once left on my young mind Kerouac’s books are like my first tattoo a very silly tribal dragon on my shoulder this was years before Steig Larsson’s books for the record I’ll never get that covered up because it’s nice to have a reminder that there was once a version of me who thought that was the most bad ass thing like everAnd I kept thinking about “The Dharma Bums” I was not interested in Buddhism yet the first time I read it Buddhism was my dad’s thing and you know how when you are nineteen nothing your parents do is cool but now after a decade of studying Soto Zen I wondered what I’d make of Jack’s attempt at meditation practice I came across this gorgeous untitled poem he wrote for his first wife “The world you see is just a movie in your mindRocks don’t see itBless and sit downForgive and forgetPractice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven nowThat’s the storyThat’s the messageNobody understands it nobody listensThey’re all running around like chickens with heads cut offI will try to teach it but it will be in vainS’why I’ll end up in a shack praying and being cool and singing by my woodstove making pancakes”Clearly he’d understood SOMETHING he’d had SOME insight He’d actually written a biography of the Buddha in 1955 it wasn’t published as a book until about ten years ago and which I now I have to read to satisfy my completist curiosity So I figured I could revisit “The Dharma Bums” in the full knowledge it wouldn’t be the book I read fifteen years ago because I am not the person I was fifteen years agoAfter the unexpected success of his novel Ray Smith wants respite from his sudden fame and popularity He takes off to California where Japhy Ryder a fellow writer deeply immersed in Zen Buddhism takes him under his wing Ray and Japhy discuss Buddhism and poetry go mountain climbing and party hard He eventually gets a gig as a firewatcher on a lonely mountain peak in Washington State and plans on using this isolation to deepen his meditation and attempt at reaching satoriThe novel is fairly episodic and the pace much less frenetic and disorienting than in “On the Road” Knowing his books are heavily autobiographical I often have the urge to give Kerouac the benefit of the doubt it is possible that he never met genuinely intellectually or spiritually curious women wince It is possible that the guys he hung out with and idolized were really good dudes in person eyeroll and that the filter of his pen distorted them But whatever might have happened the people in the book are often rather repulsive The best parts are almost always when Ray is alone on the mountain or hopping trains across the country trying to find a good place to meditate The way Kerouac wrote about nature the landscapes he took in the way food and water tasted on his journey well it makes me feel like travelling and it makes me hungry I don’t even like blueberry pie but the way Ray enjoys it it seems like the most delicious thing on earth and now I want some The Beats were much interested in what they referred to as Buddhist anarchism which is kind of a hodgepodge mix of cherry picked Buddhist practices and ideas and proto hippie philosophy and lifestyle as opposed to actual Buddhism so it’s not really surprising that both Ray and Japhy play very fast and lose with oversimplified interpretations of things like the Precepts meditation practice and so on and use words like bodhisattvas bhikkus and satori willy nilly I think their hearts were in the right place but that a complete lack of experienced guidance and discipline made their earnest and ambitious efforts very scattered and vain There is no doubt that promising chicks enlightenment experiences through tantric sex was an effective pick up method in 1950s Frisco but I don’t think either one of those guys knew the first thing about Vajrayana tantra neither do I for the record but I’m pretty sure it’s not what’s going on in the book In fact it comes off as super sleazy I get that this was when Buddhism was just starting to become an interest in the West but I can’t help but feel that someone who spend years studying Zen in Japan as Japhy claimed to have done ought to know better Kerouac was also never really able to polish off the Catholicism he was brought up on and it tinted his spiritual studiesI think the redeeming grace of this book is really the musical cadence and vividness of the prose and the self awareness You can say a lot of bad things about Kerouac but its undeniable that he knew how to string a sentence together with all the energy and rhythm a musician uses to play a solo There are times when I had to just stop reading for a moment to savor the word riff he had just thrown at me As for the self awareness it is very clear that RayJack knows he’s not monk material that he’s flawed and that it seems unlikely he’ll ever be able to really get over the hurdles that hinder him But he keeps trying To be fair that’s an incredibly important aspect of Zen – perseverance It’s a shame that his efforts were so misguided and that he so often hung out with people who brought out the worst in him“The Dharma Bums” keeps the 4 stars rating I’d given it before despite the fact that it made me much sadder this time around than it had fifteen years ago I will be driving by Lowell Massachusetts next month and I think I might make a small detour to go pay my respects to Jack he doesn’t hold the place he had in my heart when I was in college but I can’t help thinking about him with a certain tenderness


  8. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    Kerouac can spin an enjoyable yarn as long as you don't mind rambling along with him on directionless paths with no real goal in mind but to spin that yarn In The Dharma Bums he takes the reader from city drop outs to mountain solitude the mind fuck excitement and shit of civilization to the glorious simplicity and utter loneliness of a retreat back to natureEven though he cheats the reader with some uick fix adverbs in place of the proper description owed his audience Kerouac still deserves all the accolades bestowed upon him and so every now and then when I'm in the mood I don't mind taking one of these long hikes with writers of his ilk Slap a few rhyming words together vaguely associated with your intended meaning and call it philosophical poetry That's my problem with some of the beat poets whom I blame for the crap classic rock songwriters of the 60s and 70s passed off as lyrics I digress The Dharma Bums is poetry even if I do think some of it's silly nonsense


  9. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    I remember never really seeing eye to eye with Kerouac's 'On the Road' it was a book I only managed to drag myself through thanks to a dogged stubbornness And I still think it's one of the most overhyped novels of the 20th century This however was a slightly positive kettle of fish Actually forget the fish going by what's mostly eaten here it's like salami cheese and crackersI have to say not all of The Dharma Bums went down well with me but I still uite liked it anyhow especially when the narrator Ray Smith a fictional Kerouac takes in the stunning scenery and there's plenty of that From Oregon California and South Carolina to Texas and briefly Mexico he simply doesn't keep still At times the narrative had me all fidgety where I felt like getting up and going for a walk in the woods not that I'm likely to find any in the parisian suburbs apart from the odd tree here and there But it's a book that really makes you want to escape the city and the hustle and bustle of life I wondered whether Chris McCandless took inspiration from Kerouac before going off into the wildSmith and his new chum Japhy Ryder ex logger mountain climber college graduate Oriental scholar and seer of visions are not your average Americans they would rather go awandering carefree and refuse to be consumers of all the stuff that makes everyone else tick Most of the time they are trying to learn to meditate in Buddhist style their new goal nothing less than total self enlightenment the satori of the Zen masters of Japan and China Smith concentrates hard on attaining self enlightenment He meditates daily in all weathers behind his mother's house during a winter visit and with persistence keeps at his self imposed discipline in the wilds of the Sierra Madres in hobo jungles beside train tracks and finally on the mountaintop fire lookout Desolation Peak In his often vivid descriptions of nature one is aware of an exhilarating power that seems to run through his body and again when he creates the atmosphere of lively gatherings for drinking talking and horsing around in the simple but stylized dwellings of his Pacific Coast friends there are rough wooden shacks in the forest and sagging old houses on side streets Here when the entire cast of characters do appear in the one place we are presented with that refreshing blend of naivety and sophistication that seems to be this author's forte And for a book generally about withdrawal and solitude it was rather uite lively and full of zest


  10. Julie Ehlers Julie Ehlers says:

    For some reason I recently got it into my head that I should read The Dharma Bums in the near future so when I spotted a pristine copy on my library's New Arrivals shelf it seemed like fate Now that I've read it I'm bewildered What is this book? Are we meant to take it seriously? I was alternately amused annoyed disturbed and edified by it and there was no overlap in these feelings I never felt amused AND annoyed; never felt disturbed AND edified Only one thing at a time And so I will take these feelings one by oneI was amusedMost of The Dharma Bums is written in a casual style and is simply about Ray Smith Jack Kerouac and his friends Alvah Goldberg Allen Ginsberg Japhy Ryder Gary Snyder and other lesser Beats hanging out together This casual conversational style had the effect of making me feel like I was there with them Pretending I was in the room with these obnoxious party people who are somehow some of the most revered writers of the 20th century was fun I imagined how I would laugh at the way they drunkenly ran their mouths off so in love with their own brilliance I pictured myself rolling my eyes when they suggested I participate in yabyum I thought about what it would be like to laze around Berkeley and Oakland bumming rides off people drinking jugs of port did people do this a lot back then? There seemed to be jugs of port everywhere and crashing on other people's floors It was like a vacation to a world I never knew I wanted to visitI was annoyedExcept for an amusing episode when Kerouac and his friends decide to climb Matterhorn Peak The Dharma Bums had no narrative momentum whatsoever Despite the book's appealing elements it was easy to put down and easy not to pick up again It was self indulgent to an absurd degree And it was pretty sexist and occasionally racist I was expecting that so it wasn't a dealbreaker for me but that doesn't mean it wasn't unpleasant Kerouac and his friends are all about personal freedom but only when it comes to young white dudes like themselvesI was disturbedJack Kerouac depicts himself as an obvious alcoholic yet it somehow doesn't seem obvious to him He's unable to do anything without the ubiuitous jugs of port and when his friends and family call him on it he's dismissive The poet Gary Snyder is both his best friend and his biggest challenger in this regard asking him how he expects to be mindful when he's in a near constant state of intoxication often wondering why he spends so much time lying around drinking instead of doing things Kerouac just brushes it off At one point while hiking with Snyder Kerouac idly wonders which of them will die first As of this writing Gary Snyder is still alive As of this writing Kerouac has been dead for nearly 50 years succumbing to alcohol related ailments 12 years after the events of this book at the age of 47 Knowing this cast a shadow over the book that was impossible to ignoreI was enlightenedI said edified above because this book doesn't literally cause enlightenment It is however a fascinating document of the way people try to live out their Buddhist ideals Kerouac often depicts himself meditating and trying to be at one with the natural world but he's also willing to admit that he's sometimes depressed on his solitary travels and has to take a few moments to cry The arguments he has with Snyder and Ginsberg about the various tenets of Buddhism and how they should play out in their lives were fascinating real and unlike anything I've read before And Kerouac's compassion for people in general comes through all the time He laments the way people seem mesmerized by TV everybody's thinking the same thing but also has faith in their ability to be better; while hitchhiking he talks about meditation with a random stranger who picks him up and isn't surprised with the stranger admits that he's always wanted to try it himself Everybody knows everything Kerouac says approvingly and as a reader you can really believe it that everyone is trying to be better that everyone has the answers deep inside of them if only they can get in touch with them But it's a process that's full of contradictions Kerouac spends a couple of months on fire lookout high in the mountains of Washington State where there's a daily battle between his awed appreciation of the natural world and his complete isolation He has moments of sadness and depression but then is shocked awake by beauty Okay world he says I'll love ya These contradictions and battles are at the heart of Kerouac's entire personality his entire view of the world and his place in it At one point Kerouac marvels at a sunset high in the mountains the light seeming to illuminate a hope that's brilliant and bleak beyond words He could just as easily have been describing himself


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