How did Jack approach Eastern philosophy?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The book Dharma Bums is a story by Jack who takes the character of Ray while the other characters in the book are his friends. The book is about their experiments with spirituality and especially so with Buddhism. Taking Ray as Jack's character in the book, his personality and actions will enable us demystify his approach to Eastern philosophy. In this case we will look at his approach to the basic beliefs of the Buddhist religion. Jack's previous experiences lead him to question if a life lived only in pursuit of happiness is worth it or if there is something more beyond the pursuit of ecstasy.

His experiment with Buddhism gave him insights into the possibility of peace and calm beyond ecstasy which gives life more meaning. We also need to understand that Jack and Ray although a portrayal of the same person they are to an extent different. This is attributed to the fact that Jack is no longer strongly devout to Buddhism and tries to separate himself from his previous character as Ray. Beyond this contradiction one can come to the conclusion that as Ray, Jack was able to enjoy the peace and enlightenment that comes with practicing Eastern philosophy through Buddhism.

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The Dharma Bums

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