Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Julie Marks

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My of my passions is cars, trucks and motorcycles. I built cars as a child and have an extensive collection of diecast cars, some of which you can see in my villages that I build for Christmas and Halloween. I have not uploaded most of my photographs of my mini towns;however, you can see them in the category of villages on artwanted.com/masterofthemaze. I was fortunate to catch this motorcyclist racing down my street as I walked to Molly’s enchanted garden. When I was an undergraduate at UCLA, I read this impressive book not expecting the impact it had on me. Loving any vehicle that moves, I imagined I was going to read about motorcycles and was immersed in my first experience of the Eastern Philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism. Arguably one of the most profoundly important essays ever written on the nature and significance of quality and definitely a necessary anodyne to the consequences of a modern world pathologically obsessed with quantity. Although set as a story of a cross-country trip on a motorcycle by a father and son. In this monumental 1974 work, Robert Pirsig has achieved what few others have managed before him and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody else has accomplished since: a perfect unification of philosophy, adventure and mystery. His “Chautauqua,” or traveling tale, takes the reader on a profound tour of ancient Greek philosophy, the steppes of Montana, and even a little bit of Zen Buddhism, with endless surprises and much original if not truly inspired thought along the way. Through his self-portrayal by means of the unforgettable and eerily enigmatic character Phaedrus, Mr. Pirsig shares his far-reaching search for the meaning of life, and himself. His fundamental concern is with the following seemingly simple but in effect infinitely complex question: "How can one distinguish “good” from “bad?” The question is posed and addressed in many different forms throughout the book, and in the process the concepts of truth, value and quality are dissected, reassembled, and again dissected and reassembled many times. He intersperses his philosophical discourse amongst very down-to-earth and charming observations made during a motorcycle trip that takes the narrator and his seemingly troubled son Chris from the American Prairies to the Pacific, and forms the prevalent background for the entire “Chautauqua.” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is a totally unique creation. Not being one to lend himself easily to clichés, I nevertheless believe that this is one book that definitely could dramatically impact your life, whether or not you believe in Zen or have ever sat on a motorcycle.


buddhism, motorcycle, passion, philosophy, story, traveling, vehicles, zen


  • melynda blosser
    melynda blosserover 6 years ago

    cool how you caught the speed , looking at you and the direction of the front tire he didn’t crash did he , bikes are great

  • Faith Puleston
    Faith Pulestonover 6 years ago

    Shows the transcience of everything, including life, of course. When I wasquite a little girl, a cousin of mine stuck a crash helmet on my head, heaved me onto his Harley-Davidson and took me for a spin. I was petrified!
    Over half a century later, this cousin is almost paralysed from MS, but the cousin I remember is still sitting on that motorbike flying through the air (almost). His love of movement is so great and compassion with people he considers worse off than himself that he did a charity stunt long after he had lost the use of his legs. He had himself tied to a parachutist and jumped from high above the clouds.
    I think we express our longing to fly in different ways. Biking is certainly one of them.

  • Julie Marks
    Julie Marksover 6 years ago

    I agree Faith. I don’t own a motorcycle or I would be flying, but I love the freedom and feeling of flying as the wind hits my face, especially when taken on rides in the mountains and canyons where I feel a more direct connection with nature outside of the confinement of my car. I used to own a Vespa that was safe and a lot of fun. I am drawn to the elegance of the European bikes, some of the best in Germany in many models of the BMW. It is thrilling as are the sports cars I have always coveted. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

  • solareclips~Julie  Alexander
    solareclips~Ju...over 6 years ago

    Really cool capture!!! You should do some at night too.. get just the lights ;-)

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownover 6 years ago

    Oh how RB does my head in at times. I typed a comment clicked add & it failed. Aaaaaarrrrrggggh. I was out on two bikes today, freedom rides again. Great way to blow away some internal noise.

  • George  Link
    George Linkover 6 years ago

    Read the book and just about every other Zen book and go back into my collection and pick out one I studied 25 years ago and study it again…and it’s all new again…go figure.

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