The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western LiteratureBy: Dean Sluyter


Finding Nirvana in the Classics

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“What a wise and wonderful book, an exploration of some of our greatest writers through the seemingly simplest and most noble questions: Who am I? What am I doing here? What is the nature of consciousness? What energies and forces supersede my transient ones? Bravo!”
— Ken Burns, filmmaker
“The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature beautifully demonstrates how inspiration and spiritual insight can be found anywhere, at any time, in any situation. Dean Sluyter’s unveiling of the sacred within the secular is wonderful to experience, a satisfying feast for the mind and soul. Savor it.”
— Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder and spiritual director, Agape International Spiritual Center
“This book is both wise and funny, inspired and inspiring, delightful and light filled. It opens up whole new ways of seeing.”
— Connie Zweig, PhD, author of The Inner Work of Age
“With sensitivity, humor, and clarity, Dean Sluyter draws out the inner meaning of familiar literature, revealing at its heart the nondual understanding that underlies the world’s great wisdom traditions. He shows us a pathway through the literary past to the recognition of our own essential nature.”
— Rupert Spira, author of Being Aware of Being Aware
“This book holds the magic to convert literary junkies into mystic warriors and the power to turn spiritual seekers into lovers of letters. A must for bookworms and psychonauts, devotees as well as neophytes.”
— Michael Imperioli, actor-writer-filmmaker
“Enlightening! A brilliant and beautifully written tour of the spiritual wisdom in great literature, and an insightful and inspiring guide to bringing this wisdom into one’s own life. A delight to read, and witty too.”
— Peter Russell, author of Letting Go of Nothing and From Science to God
“Funny, wry, curious, and wise, The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature winds like a lyrical highway through the twists and turns of the life of the spirit. It doesn’t just tell us but shows us that reading can be a radical, liberative act — that books can wake us up and leave us changed forever.”
— Willa Blythe Baker, PhD, founding teacher, Natural Dharma Fellowship
“Lighthearted . . . original . . . pleasantly breezy. Those with an appreciation of literature and spirituality will appreciate Sluyter’s fresh takes.”
— Publishers Weekly
“I loved this insightful, compelling, thoroughly original book. Putting aside the bland conventions of mainstream guides, it reveals the perennial wisdom found in all great literature, Western and Eastern. No matter how often you’ve read these books, Dean Sluyter introduces you to them anew.”
— Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent
“This is not your ordinary Dharma book or lit book either. It’s a brilliant, insightful, playful, sometimes irreverent journey for discovering Dharmic pathways in Western literature. Dean Sluyter is the lit professor you wish you’d had, and this is a trip worth taking. The guide is compelling, the company stellar, the view cosmic, and what we take back home is radical hope.”
— Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian, spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment and author of The Jewel of Abundance
“This is Dead Poets Society meets the Buddha. Dean Sluyter has a miner’s gift for extracting nuggets of wisdom that no one else sees. I have no doubt that Blake, Salinger, Dickinson, and the rest of Sluyter’s all-star authors would be delighted to have their work appreciated from this deep level of enlightened insight — and joy.”
— Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda
“This amazing book does it all, providing the back story, the front story, and the over story for more than two dozen masterpieces of English and American literature. Dean Sluyter brings the big picture into focus by juxtaposing the work of perennial favorites from John Donne to Toni Morrison and celebrating the joy and wisdom we receive through fiction and poetry. It will inspire educators and students alike to keep reading, keep reflecting, and keep faith in humankind.”
— Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at Loyola Marymount University and author of Living Landscapes
“A sparkling, fast-moving reflection on the spiritual truths in some of the great literary works of the English language. . . . Breezy, witty, and brusque, The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature brings fresh, provocative energy to the classics. This one is worth talking about among book-loving friends and would be a good choice for your book club.”
— Lion’s Roar
“Sluyter has fun with literary classics in this book. . . . Think of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society . . . . There’s a connection between spiritual awakening and the books we love, Sluyter says. He opens up all of those great novels and plays that you read (or perhaps only said you read) in college . . . showing how they are each filled with spiritual lessons and meaning for living.”
— Spirituality & Practice
“Dean Sluyter is a powerful and revelatory writer. In his latest work, he shines his light, his wisdom, and his exuberant wit on the great literary classics of the West. With an ultrawide lens ranging from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss, he shows us that we don’t need to travel far to find the sacred teachings and ancient truths.”
— Jai Uttal, sacred music composer-vocalist-instrumentalist
“Like all successful classroom teachers, Sluyter specializes in making his material both clear and entertaining. . . . Literature was never this much fun, or this enriching for the soul. . . . Sluyter’s enthusiasm is contagious.”
— LA Yoga
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