In the mid-1950s Jack Kerouac, a lifelong Catholic, became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that had a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality and later found expression in such books as Mexico City Blues and The Dharma Bums. Originally written in 1955 and now published for the first time in book form, Wake Up is Kerouac’s retelling of the life of Prince Siddartha Gotama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong search for Enlightenment. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a penetrating account of the Buddha’s life and a concise primer on the principal teachings of Buddhism. This edition includes an insightful introduction by Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman that addresses Keroauc’s engagement with Buddhism in his work and his life.