Wake Up, Episode Eight

Shakyamuni Buddha: a life retoldJack Kerouac

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The first four episodes of Wake Up, Jack Kerouac's previously unpublished life of the Buddha, recounted the story of Prince Siddhartha's early life: leaving his father's palace, taking up the homeless life, attaining enlightenment, and postponing his own entry into nirvana until all sentient beings are freed from suffering. The following episodes described his journey to Benares, his first sermon, the formation of the first sangha, and his sermons on the nature of reality and the inconstancy of the self This, the final installment, picks up when Shakyamuni Buddha is about to die. Now eighty years old, he has just proclaimed to his attendant Ananda, “The time of my complete deliverance is at hand, but let three months elapse, and I shall reach Nirvana.” The complete manuscript of Wake Up will appear in a volume entitled Some of the Dharma, due to be published by Viking Penguin in 1995.

Note: Kerouac's original spelling and usage have been retained throughout.


The eighth and final episode of Jack Kerouac's biography of the Buddha

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