Yes, for, if it was anything other than a conception in my mind I wouldnt have said "Sky"-That is why I am the golden eternity. One that is what is, the golden eternity, or, God, or, Tathagata-the name. The Named One. The human God. Sentient Godhood.

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Kerouac is known for his method of "spontaneous prose" which sometimes makes for disjointed, impenetrable reading. He did not write spontaneously in "The Scripture of the Golden Eternity". Rather, this book is carefully and beautifully written and edited. Kerouac seriously thought through the vision he wanted to convey. The book is a short work in 66 numbered paragraphs which straddles the line between poetry and prose.

Kerouac does nothing less than attempt to explain his spiritual vision and outlook on life. Kerouac is moving in expressing difficult concepts. The spiritual vision expressed in this book is one of mysticism, shared in a loose way with mystic writers from many traditions and times. He frequently describes individuals and discrete activities in space-time as "illusory", a seemingly paradoxical view shared by some other writers of his overall view, and one which may need to be interpreted.

There are elements of pantheism in the book, although I suspect Kerouac might reject the term. The book is also heavily influenced by Buddhist teachings on emptyness and by the Diamond Sutra. Some of the paragraphs in the book are lengthy and seem to present arguments while others are short and aphoristic. Here is paragraph 10, which seems to me to capture well what Kerouac is trying to convey. Rest and be kind.

The true understanding of this world brings tears to your eyes Religion is thy sad heart. It is too easy to put aside a book such as "The Scripture of the Golden Eternity" based on the troubles and shortcomings of the author.

This would be to ignore the voice that comes through the book if not through the life. Together with other spiritual works similar to this book, Kerouac has difficulty with differentiation and in thinking about evil. This form of spirituality might be viewed as condoning virtually any behavior, as might be suggested by several passages here taken in isolation. But the penultimate paragraph of this book describes the 64 earlier paragraphs as "the first teaching from the golden eternity" while the final paragraph concludes" [t]he second teaching from the golden eternity is that there never was a first teaching from the golden eternity.

So be sure. It is a way of thinking about spirituality that may be found in other seemingly unlikely sources in addition to Kerouac. The quote in the first paragraph of this review is drawn from the LOA volume.


The Scripture of the Golden Eternity



The Scripture of the Golden Eternity Quotes


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