Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 21 in one sentence



Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 21 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.


The Dharma Bums Chapter 21 in one sentence:
One day his nephew Lou visits Ray at his new meditation spot under a twisted twin tree by a brook, (Ray calls it "Twin Tree Grove"), Ray spends a lot of days meditating there with the dogs, one day he gets word that he got an assignment for the coming summer as a fire lookout in the High Cascades in Washington State, he gets into an argument with his brother-in-law about meditating as well as unleashing Bob the dog in the woods, Ray gets mad and stomps off to the woods where he decides he'll pack up and leave but changes his mind after meditating on the matter, deciding "I was hurting deep inside from the sad business of trying to deny what was," Ray tries to explain emptiness from a Buddhist perspective to his family but they wish he'd stick to the religion he was born with, Ray returns to the woods and ponders what he will tell Japhy back in California, Ray has a vision and another moment of satori in the woods, then he has a vision that leads to curing his mom's cough (his first and last "miracle" lest he become vain), and on his final night in the woods Ray sees "there was nothing to do because nothing ever happened, nothing ever would happen, all things were empty light," then the next day he packs up and starts hitchhiking back to California.

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 22 and post a one-sentence summary.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 20 in one sentence



Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 20 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.


The Dharma Bums Chapter 20 in one sentence:
Ray continues to meditate in the woods and grow in his Buddhist understandings, while his brother-in-law is getting annoyed at him for hanging around and not working, and the "old tobacco-chewing stickwhittlers" Ray sees at the crossroads store are baffled by his eccentricities.

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 21 and post a one-sentence summary.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 19 in one sentence




Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 19 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.


The Dharma Bums Chapter 19 in one sentence:
Ray sets up his sleeping bag on the couch on the back porch, and after his family members (mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew) go to bed he returns to the meditation spot he created the previous spring in the woods under a pine tree, Bob the dog and some strays go with him, he meditates for an hour before returning to the house where he falls asleep in his bag, the next night enjoys Christmas Eve with the family, thinks of Japhy, spends the next week alone (mother at a funeral in New York and the rest working) reading and studying and meditating in his woodsy spot, makes supper for the family, puts up a basket and shoots hoops, and one night after pacing in the yard Ray experiences satori (sudden enlightenment) after which he goes inside and feeds the cat.

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 20 and post a one-sentence summary.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 18 in one sentence

Mexicali, Mexico


Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 18 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.


The Dharma Bums Chapter 18 in one sentence:
Ray catches various rides from Riverside all the way to the Mexican border and walks across to Mexicali where he is warned off sleeping in the riverbottom mudflats, eats some garbanzo soup, digs the people and places, recrosses the border at dusk, is searched by American guards, mistakenly thinks he can catch the Zipper to Colorado in El Centro (where he goes by bus), starts thumbing, gets a ride from a middlewestern man (Beaudry) who promises to take Ray to Tucson in his big truck if he shows him around Mexicali that night, Ray shows him a good time at the old saloons of real Mexico and a whorehouse, they cross back over and reach Tucson, Ray cooks him a big steak over a fire along the highway, Beaudry ponders his life compared to Ray's and offers to take Ray clear to Ohio, Ray has a Buddhist-tinged vision over the mountains of Alamogordo, they make only one overnight stop to sleep in a hotel in Independence, Missouri, Beaudry drops Ray off in Springfield, Ohio, Ray buys a bus ticket to Rocky Mount, changes his mind and tries to cash in his ticket but they won't do it, instead of waiting for the next bus he decides to hitchhike to the next town and catch the bus there, Ray finally reaches his mother's and looking at her he thinks of Japhy and decides that "People have good hearts whether or not they live like Dharma Bums. Compassion is the heart of Buddhism." 

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 19 and post a one-sentence summary.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 17 in one sentence




Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 17 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions. By the way, with this chapter we are officially half way to the end (Chapter 34)!

The Dharma Bums Chapter 17 in one sentence:
Reaching Riverside by bus, Ray wants to try out his new gear and camp out but is warned by someone at the bus station that the cops would arrest him, nevertheless he buys food at a supermarket and then bushwhacks through the woods toward the riverbottom under the highway bridge to a nice opening where he can't be seen, he sets up camp, stands on his head for five minutes to clear his head cold, remembers crying in L.A. the night before because "After all a homeless man has reason to cry, everything in the world is pointed against him," eats his food, prays and includes a little prayer for Rosie, spends a long time sitting crosslegged and meditating, sleeps well except for some bamboo joints under the leaves -- "Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree" -- wakes and makes up a little morning prayer, packs his gear, and washes up in a tumbling spring across the highway to ready himself for his "three-thousand-mile hitchhike to Rocky Mount, North Carolina" where his mother is waiting. 

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 18 and post a one-sentence summary.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 16 in one sentence



Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 16 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.

The Dharma Bums Chapter 16 in one sentence:
Before Japhy leaves, Ray and Japhy eat in Chinatown, see a street preacher, discuss Christianity v. Buddhism, see a new Buddhist temple being built, Ray tells Japhy goodbye, then spends a few days with Cody's family, helps Cody pray Rosie into purgatory, Ray hops a train to L.A. and hangs out there waiting to catch the 7:30 PM Zipper to Yuma, Arizona, meets an ex-marine bum carrying a slip of paper with a quote by the Buddha, the bum teaches Ray about standing on his head three minutes a day to cure thrombophlebitis (it cured the bum's arthritis and cures Ray in three months), Ray hops on an "eighteen-car sealed sonofabitch" by mistake and barely gets off before it is going too fast, spends the rest of the night miserable in the industrial jungle of L.A., then walks to the bus station and catches a 25-mile ride to Riverside, noting that "everything was far away from the easy purity of being with Japhy Ryder in that high rock camp under peaceful singing stars." 

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 17 and post a one-sentence summary.

And we'll be half way to the 34th (last) chapter!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums Chapter 15 in one sentence

RIP Natalie Jackson, real-life Rosie

Your assignment for today was to read Chapter 15 of The Dharma Bums and summarize it in one sentence. Below is my one-sentence summary -- post yours as a comment. I'd also love to see general comments about the chapter, or questions.

The Dharma Bums Chapter 15 in one sentence:
Ray packs his rucksack and tries it out by walking around San Francisco, hangs out with some bums on Skid Row, decides to visit Cody and Rosie at her place, Cody worries about Rosie's mental health (she is convinced the police are coming to arrest them all) and talks Ray into staying with her while Cody goes to work, Ray tries to calm her down by explaining the Dharma, he goes out for wine and brings back some musicians, she seems better, Ray goes home when Cody returns, Cody sleeps and Rosie goes up on the roof and breaks the skylight to cut her wrists, a neighbor sends the cops, Rosie makes a run for the roof edge, a cop grabs for her but only gets her bathrobe and she falls six flights to her death, all of which pushes Ray to pack up the following week and hit the road, comforted by the thought that Rosie is now in Heaven and "she knows" the truth Ray was trying to teach her.

Your next assignment is to read The Dharma Bums Chapter 16 and post a one-sentence summary.