Wake Up, Episode Five

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The first four episodes of Wake Up, Jack Kerouac's previously unpublished life of the Buddha, recounted the story of Prince Siddhartha leaving his father's palace, taking up the homeless life, and attaining enlightenment. In Episode Four, while seated beneath the Bodhi Tree, the Buddha arrived at the decision to delay his entry into nirvana until all beings were freed from suffering. This installment picks up the story after the Buddha has stood up from beneath the tree and walked to the city of Benares. 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 spellings and usage have been retained throughout.

Read the other installments here: Episode One
                                                              Episode Two
                                                              Episode Three
                                                              Episode Four
                                                              Episode Six
                                                              Episode Seven
                                                              Episode Eight 


In the deer park Isipatana, sat the five mendicant ascetics with whom he'd spent those futile six years in the Forest of Mortification. They saw him coming, slowly, his eyes cast down with circumspection and modesty a plough's length along the ground as if he was ploughing and planting the Ambrosial crop of the law as he went. They scoffed.

"There comes Gotama who broke his first vow by giving up ascetic practices and mortification. Don't rise in salutation, give him an offhand greeting, don't offer him the customary refreshments when he comes."

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