The Dharma Bums


Does "bum" here refer to "a person who avoids work and lives off others"?

Some seekers find it hard to stop asking why. This tension within Buddhism was dramatized in Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical novel The Dharma Bums, published in 1958. The two main characters are “Ray Smith,” Kerouac’s avatar, and “Japhy Ryder,” based on poet Gary Snyder, who kindled Kerouac’s interest in Buddhism.

-Scientific American

  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This blog post explains what at least one person thinks the term means here. To quote one short paragraph:

    A so-called Dharma Bum is a “wanderer of the world in search of Truth, the True Meaning, or Dharma, to gain merit and be a Hero in paradise.” Most of this truth is found in observing the world that surrounds a Dharma Bum, and through this realization of what truth is, come inner peace and understanding.