Objects & Places from The Dharma Bums

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Object Descriptions

Dharma - This object is literally the body of philosophy expounded by Buddha and the duty to pursue a life of conduct in harmony with that philosophy, which will lead to enlightenment. In the novel, the word is often used in a more general sense of being in the "right" place and doing the "right" thing; "right" being what is personally productive toward one's enlightenment.

Buddhism - This item is the teaching that life is filled with suffering caused by desire; that suffering ceases when desire ceases and that enlightenment obtained through good conduct and meditation releases one from desire and, hence, from suffering.

Yabyum - This term means "father-and-mother." It is a Buddhist symbol that depicts a man and a woman joined together in the ecstasy of sexual union. The couple represents a bodhisattva and his female consort sitting face-to-face in a yoga posture. This term...

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