The Dharma Bums Setting & Symbolism

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Dharma

The dharma 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. Thus, a dharma bum is a hobo or bum who is a bum because that is his dharma - not necessarily because being a bum is an entertaining way to live.

Buddhism

Buddhism is the teaching or philosophy of Buddha 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. Ray Smith and Japhy Ryder are practitioners of Buddhism, and Ray's personal...

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This section contains 1,069 words
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