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Dean Sluyter’s Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature

The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature

How Literature We Love Conveys the Awakening We Seek


An Evening Talk & Book Event with Peter Russell in Conversation with Dean Sluyter

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

Suppose we could discover enlightenment teachings in
Macbeth, The Catcher in the Rye, Moby-Dick, The Bluest Eye, and The Cat in the Hat . . . read Hemingway as haiku . . . learn mindfulness from Virginia Woolf and liberation from Frederick Douglass . . . see Dickinson and Whitman as Buddhas of poetry, and Huck Finn and Gatsby as seekers of the infinite.

Some of us were lucky enough to have one passionate, funny, inspiring English teacher who helped us fall in love with books. Add a lifetime of teaching Dharma — authentic, traditional approaches to meditation and awakening — and you get award-winning author Dean Sluyter.

Sluyter’s habit of finding enlightenment in unexpected places started at the age of twelve, when
Mad magazine triggered his first glimpse of deep transcendence. He went on to discover how “Eastern” spirituality — the light of nirvana — illuminates all the big questions of birth and death, hope and despair, love and fear that Western literature explores.

With droll humor and irreverent wisdom, the Guide unpacks the Dharma of more than twenty major writers, from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss. It will inspire readers to deepen their own spiritual life and see literature in a fresh, new way: as a path of awakening.

Each ticket includes your own hardcopy of the book
“The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature”. The book will be mailed after the event to participants with the current U.S. mailing address. We cannot mail the book internationally. Please allow 2 – 4 weeks for delivery. 

If you are joining us from outside of the U.S., we have an option for you, please email
hello@opencenter.org before registering for the event. 

Note: This program will be offered online. Sessions of all our online programs will be recorded and shared with registrants after each is completed for 90 days.


“This book 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 and Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times

“With a knack for creative genius, Dean is a wonderful source of real-life, useful, news-you-can-use information. Dean is a Buddha — a poet and a teacher.”

— Dr. Mehmet Oz, Oprah & Friends Radio

“Dean Sluyter is in the grand tradition of authors who interpret traditional enlightenment teachings and apply them to modern Western life. He accomplishes that task with a rare combination of insight, clarity, wit, and pragmatic common sense.… Sluyter knows as much about clear, concise, captivating prose as he does about the nuances of meditation.”

— LA Yoga


  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Supplies list for the class: N/A
  • Zoom Software Requirements: This is an online course that requires Zoom webinar software. Zoom is easy to use. Click HERE to make sure your computer is set-up correctly.

Dean Sluyter’s Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature

  • 1 Session(s)
  • Mar 29 2022 7:00 PM ET


$32 - Book Included


$37- Book Included

Dean Sluyter (pronounced “slighter”) has led meditation workshops and retreats throughout the U.S. since 1970, at venues ranging from Ivy League colleges to maximum-security prisons. For thirty-three years he taught English and developed the Literature of Enlightenment program at The Pingry School in New Jersey. He is the author of Natural Meditation, Cinema Nirvana, and The Zen Commandments.

Peter Russell is an author, speaker, and leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He believes the critical challenge today is freeing human thinking from the limited beliefs and attitudes that lie behind many of our problems — personal, social, and global.


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