Two friends in 1950s San Francisco Bohemia explore Buddhism Zen - hipster style. On the road to finding Dharma, or truth, the story's narrator, Raymond Smith comes to a spiritual roadblock. Smith, based on Kerouac himself, discovers a role model in his friend Japhy Ryder, modeled after the real poet-Buddhist Gary Snyder. This autobiographical novel is one of Kerouac's most popular, and has served as an inspiration to the beat culture, hippies, and dharma seekers since the 1950s. This program is narrated by legendary poet Allen Ginsberg, a friend of Kerouac's and an early fan of his work.