2018 Reprint of 1960 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition software. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity is a book of 66 prose poems written by Kerouac and first published in 1960 by Corinth Books, New York City. The book is Kerouac’s sutra on Buddhist philosophy, in which he describes a "Golden Eternity" that is paradoxically everything and nothing.
The 66 prose poems or "meditations" deal mainly with the nature of consciousness and the impermanence of existence. The main influence is Buddhism, but the use of the word "scripture" in the title alludes to Kerouac's Catholic upbringing and influences, evident in this work and others.
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About the Author
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was an American novelist, poet, and painter most closely associated with the Beat Movement of the 1950s. His most famous works include On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Big Sur, several of which have been adapted into films. In 1959 Kerouac released his collection of poems Mexico City Blues. Few authors can claim as large an influence on American culture as Jack Kerouac and his examinations of youth and rebellion.
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The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
By Jack Kerouac
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1960 Jan Kerouac and Anthony Sampatakakos
All rights reserved.
Did I create that sky? 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. There are not two of us here,
reader and writer, but one, one golden eternity,
The awakened Buddha to show the way, the
chosen Messiah to die in the degradation
of sentience, is 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.
Animate Divine. The Deified One.
The Verified One. The Free One.
The Liberator. The Still One.
The Settled One. The Established One.
Golden Eternity. All is Well.
The Empty One. The Ready One.
The Quitter. The Sitter.
The Justified One. The Happy One.
That sky, if it was anything other than an
illusion of my mortal mind I wouldnt have said
"that sky." Thus I made that sky, I am the
golden eternity. I am Mortal Golden Eternity.
I was awakened to show the way, chosen to
die in the degradation of life, because I am
Mortal Golden Eternity.
I am the golden eternity in mortal animate form.
Strictly speaking, there is no me, because all is
emptiness. I am empty, I am non-existent.
All is bliss.
This truth law has no more reality than the world.
You are the golden eternity because there is
no me and no you, only one golden eternity.
The Realizer. Entertain no imaginations whatever,
for the thing is a no-thing. Knowing this then
is Human Godhood.
This world is the movie of what everything is,
it is one movie, made of the same stuff
throughout, belonging to nobody, which is what
If we were not all the golden eternity we
wouldnt be here. Because we are here we
cant help being pure. To tell man to be pure on
account of the punishing angel that punishes the
bad and the rewarding angel that rewards the good
would be like telling the water "Be Wet" — Never
the less, all things depend on supreme reality,
which is already established as the record of
God is not outside us but is just us, the
living and the dead, the never-lived and
never-died. That we should learn it only now, is
supreme reality, it was written a long time ago
in the archives of universal mind, it is already
done, there's no more to do.
This is the knowledge that sees the golden
eternity in all things, which is us, you,
me, and which is no longer us, you, me.
What name shall we give it which hath no
name, the common eternal matter of the mind?
If we were to call it essence, some might think it
meant perfume, or gold, or honey. It is not even
mind. It is not even discussable, groupable into
words; it is not even endless, in fact it is not
even mysterious or inscrutably inexplicable; it is
what is; it is that; it is this. We could easily
call the golden eternity "This." But "what's in
a name?" asked Shakespeare. The golden eternity
by another name would be as sweet. A Tathagata,
A God, a Buddha by another name, an Allah, a Sri
Krishna, a Coyote, a Brahma, a Mazda, a Messiah,
an Amida, an Aremedeia, a Maitreya, a Palalakonuh,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 would be as sweet. The golden
eternity is [??], the golden eternity is [??], the
golden eternity is [??], the golden eternity is ,
the golden eternity is , the golden eternity is
t-h-e g-o-l-d-e-n e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y. In the
beginning was the word; before the beginning, in
the beginningless infinite neverendingness, was
the essence. Both the word "God" and the essence
of the word, are emptiness. The form of emptiness
which is emptiness having taken the form of form,
is what you see and hear and feel right now, and
what you taste and smell and think as you read
this. Wait awhile, close your eyes, let your
breathing stop three seconds or so, listen to
the inside silence in the womb of the world, let
your hands and nerve-ends drop, re-recognize
the bliss you forgot, the emptiness and
essence and ecstasy of ever having been and
ever to be the golden eternity. This is
the lesson you forgot.
The lesson was taught long ago in the other
world systems that have naturally changed
into the empty and awake, and are here
now smiling in our smile and scowling in our
scowl. It is only like the golden eternity
pretending to be smiling and scowling to
itself; like a ripple on the smooth ocean of
knowing. The fate of humanity is to vanish
into the golden eternity, return pouring into
its hands which are not hands. The navel shall
receive, invert, and take back what'd issued
forth; the ring of flesh shall close; the personalities
of long dead heroes are blank dirt.
The point is we're waiting, not how comfortable
we are while waiting. Paleolithic man waited by
caves for the realization of why he was there,
and hunted; modern men wait in beautified
homes and try to forget death and birth. We're
waiting for the realization that this is the
It came on time.
There is a blessedness surely to be believed,
and that is that everything abides in
eternal ecstasy, now and forever.
Mother Kali eats herself back. All things but
come to go. All these holy forms, unmanifest,
not even forms, truebodies of blank bright
ecstasy, abiding in a trance, "in emptiness and
silence" as it is pointed out in the Diamond-cutter,
asked to be only what they are: Glad.
The secret God-grin in the trees and in the teapot,
in ashes and fronds, fire and brick, flesh and
mental human hope. All things, far from yearning
to be re-united with God, had never left themselves
and here they are, Dharmakaya, the body of the
truth law, the universal Thisness.
"Beyond the reach of change and fear, beyond
all praise and blame," the Lankavatara Scripture
knows to say, is he who is what he is in time and in
time-less-ness, in ego and in ego-less-ness, in self
and in self-less-ness.
Stare deep into the world before you as if it were
the void: innumerable holy ghosts, buddhies,
and savior gods there hide, smiling. All the
atoms emitting light inside wavehood, there is
no personal separation of any of it. A hummingbird
can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest
and be assured. While looking for the light, you
may suddenly be devoured by the darkness
and find the true light.
Things dont tire of going and coming.
The flies end up with the delicate viands.
The cause of the world's woe is birth,
the cure of the world's woe is a bent stick.
Though it is everything, strictly speaking
there is no golden eternity because everything
is nothing: there are no things and no goings and
comings: for all is emptiness, and emptiness is
these forms, emptiness is this one formhood.
All these selfnesses have already vanished.
Einstein measured that this present universe is an
expanding bubble, and you know what that means.
Discard such definite imaginations of phenomena
as your own self, thou human being, thou'rt a
numberless mass of sun-motes: each mote a shrine.
The same as to your shyness of other selves,
selfness as divided into infinite numbers of beings,
or selfness as identified as one self existing
eternally. Be obliging and noble, be generous
with your time and help and possessions, and be
kind, because the emptiness of this little place
of flesh you carry around and call your soul,
your entity, is the same emptiness in every direction
of space unmeasurably emptiness, the same, one,
and holy emptiness everywhere: why be selfly and
unfree, Man God, in your dream? Wake up, thou'rt
selfless and free. "Even and upright your mind
abides nowhere," states Hui Neng of China.
We're all in Heaven now.
Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent
mind. Now that we know this, throw the raft away.
Are you tightwad and are you mean, those are
the true sins, and sin is only a conception of ours,
due to long habit. Are you generous and are
you kind, those are the true virtues, and they're
only conceptions. The golden eternity rests beyond
sin and virtue, is attached to neither, is attached
to nothing, is unattached, because the golden
eternity is Alone. The mold has rills but it is one
mold. The field has curves but it is one field.
All things are different forms of the same thing.
I call it the golden eternity — what do you
call it, brother? For the blessing and merit
of virtue, and the punishment and bad fate
of sin, are alike just so many words.
Sociability is a big smile, and a big smile is
nothing but teeth. Rest and be kind.
There's no need to deny that evil thing called
GOOGOO, which doesnt exist, just as there's no
need to deny that evil thing called Sex and Rebirth,
which also doesnt exist, as it is only a form of
emptiness. The bead of semen comes from a long
line of awakened natures that were your parent,
a holy flow, a succession of saviors pouring from
the womb of the dark void and back into it,
fantastic magic imagination of the lightning, flash,
plays, dreams, not even plays, dreams.
"The womb of exuberant fertility," Ashvhaghosha
called it, radiating forms out of its womb of
exuberant emptiness. In emptiness there is no
Why, no knowledge of Why, no ignorance of Why,
no asking and no answering of Why, and no
significance attached to this
A disturbed and frightened man is like the
golden eternity experimentally pretending at
feeling the disturbed-and-frightened mood; a
calm and joyous man, is like the golden eternity
pretending at experimenting with that experience;
a man experiencing his Sentient Being, is like
the golden eternity pretending at trying that out
too; a man who has no thoughts, is like the golden
eternity pretending at being itself; because
the emptiness of everything has no beginning
and no end and at present it is infinite.
"Love is all in all," said Sainte Thérèse, choosing
Love for her vocation and pouring out her
happiness, from her garden by the gate, with
a gentle smile, pouring roses on the earth,
so that the beggar in the thunderbolt received
of the endless offering of her dark void.
Man goes a-beggaring into nothingness.
"Ignorance is the father, Habit-Energy is
the Mother." Opposites are not the same
for the same reason they are the same.
The words "atoms of dust" and "the great
universes" are only words. The idea that they
imply is only an idea. The belief that we live here
in this existence, divided into various beings,
passing food in and out of ourselves, and casting off
husks of bodies one after another with no cessation
and no definite or particular discrimination, is
only an idea. The seat of our Immortal Intelligence
can be seen in that beating light between the eyes
the Wisdom Eye of the ancients: we know what
we're doing: we're not disturbed: because
we're like the golden eternity pretending at
playing the magic cardgame and making believe
it's real, it's a big dream, a joyous ecstasy of
words and ideas and flesh, an ethereal flower
unfolding and folding back, a movie, an
exuberant bunch of lines bounding emptiness,
the womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret
silence, springtime in the Void, happy young
gods talking and drinking on a cloud. Our
32,000 chillicosms bear all the marks of
excellence. Blind milky light fills our night;
and the morning is a crystal.
Give a gift to your brother, but there's no gift
to compare with the giving of assurance that he
is the golden eternity. The true understanding of
this would bring tears to your eyes. The other
shore is right here, forgive and forget, protect
and reassure. Your tormentors will be purified.
Raise thy diamond hand. Have faith and wait.
The course of your days is a river rumbling over
your rocky back. You're sitting at the bottom of the
world with a head of iron. Religion is thy sad
heart. You're the golden eternity and it must be
done by you. And means one thing: Nothing-Ever-Happened.
This is the golden eternity.
When the Prince of Kalinga severed the
flesh from the limbs and body of Buddha, even
then Buddha was free from any such ideas as
his own self, other self, living beings
divided into many selves, or living beings
united and identified into one eternal self.
The golden eternity isnt "me." Before you
can know that you're dreaming you'll wake up,
Atman. Had the Buddha, the Awakened One,
cherished any of these imaginary judgments
of and about things, he would have fallen
into impatience and hatred in his suffering.
Instead, like Jesus on the Cross he saw the
light and died kind, loving all living things.
The world was spun out of a blade of grass:
the world was spun out of a mind. Heaven
was spun out of a blade of grass: heaven was spun
out of a mind. Neither will do you much good,
neither will do you much harm. The Oriental
imperturbed, is the golden eternity.
He is called a Yogi, he is called a Priest,
a Minister, a Brahmin, a Parson, a Chaplain,
a Rôshi, a Laoshih, a Master, a Patriarch, a Pope,
a Spiritual Commissar, a Counselor, an Adviser,
a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, an Old Man, a Saint,
a Shaman, a Leader, who thinks nothing of
himself as separate from another self, not
higher nor lower, no stages and no definite
attainments, no mysterious stigmata or secret
holyhood, no wild dark knowledge and no
venerable authoritativeness, nay a giggling sage
sweeping out the kitchen with a broom. After
supper, a silent smoke. Because there is no
definite teaching: the world is undisciplined
Nature endlessly in every direction inward
to your body and outward into space.
Meditate outdoors. The dark trees at night
are not really the dark trees at night, it's
only the golden eternity.
A mosquito as big as Mount Everest is much
bigger than you think; a horse's hoof is more
delicate than it looks. An altar consecrated to
the golden eternity, filled with roses and lotuses
and diamonds, is the cell of the humble prisoner,
the cell so cold and dreary. Boethius kissed the
Robe of the Mother Truth in a Roman dungeon.
Do you think the emptiness of the sky will ever
crumble away? Every little child knows that
everybody will go to heaven. Knowing that
nothing ever happened is not really knowing
that nothing ever happened, it's the golden eternity.
In other words, nothing can compare with telling
your brother and your sister that what happened,
what is happening, and what will happen, never
really happened, is not really happening and never
will happen, it is only the golden eternity.
Nothing was ever born, nothing will ever die.
Indeed, it didnt even happen that you heard about
golden eternity through the accidental reading of
this scripture. The thing is easily false. There
are no warnings whatever issuing from the
golden eternity: do what you want.
Excerpted from The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac. Copyright © 1960 Jan Kerouac and Anthony Sampatakakos. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Unexpectedly beautiful and deeply insightful original scriptures by Jack Kerouac. Slim and compact - can easily bring it with you anywhere. A surprising treasure to cherish.