Friday, August 12, 2011

Kerouac Day 18: On Appearances

Today's Kerouaction in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On Appearances," and references this passage from The Dharma Bums:
...all they really should do is just build or buy an old Jap house and vegetable garden and have a place there for cats to hang out in and be Buddhists, I mean have a real flower of something and not just the usual American middleclass fuggup with appearances.

In this scene, Japhy is talking about his pending "monastery shot" in Japan and how the Americans there who are financing him spend a lot of money on appearances like
elegant scenes of gardens and books and Japanese architecture and all that crap which nobody will like or be able to use anyway but rich American divorcees on Japanese cruises....

He is bemoaning the fact that some Americans - true Dharma Bums - really "get" Buddhism and don't care about appearances. In my book, I say:
Tomorrow, throw out something you have been hanging on to for years. Throw it in the trash and laugh. Or give it to someone! That would be even better for the environment. You won’t miss it and you surely don’t “need” it. What do you need? Little. We all need the same things. Among them are shelter, food, connection, and spirituality. What does that “thing” you are going to throw away have to do with any of that?

Make a list of 10 things you are going to give away (best idea) or sell or throw out and check them off as you do so.

Tomorrow: On food for the road (more on the "beat diet").

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