Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance

A Daily Mirror Editorial points out that  Sri  Lanka  needs motivated citizens for change need to act and points out to a motivational text .


The suggestion of the book is to add it to the school curriculum


Reflections on “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. The editorial argues that  this influential book has much to offer in  building a better society in Sri Lanka. The book’s exploration of ethics, knowledge acquisition, and meaningful existence could be integrated into educational curricula to engage students beyond exam-oriented learning.


Here is the Book in  Nutshell: 

Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful examination of how we live and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Following a father and his young son on a summer motorcycle trip across America’s Northwest, to complete the Chautauqua spiritual journey, it is a story of love, fear, growth, discovery and acceptance. Both personal and philosophical, it is a compelling study of relationships, values, and eventually, enlightenment and meaning – resonant with the confusions and wonders of existence.

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig is a unique and influential book for several reasons:

Interdisciplinary Exploration: The book defies easy categorization, blending elements of philosophy, autobiography, travel writing, and fiction. It delves into profound philosophical questions while simultaneously recounting a motorcycle journey across the American Northwest.

Philosophical Depth: Pirsig explores complex philosophical concepts, particularly regarding the nature of quality, the divide between classical and romantic understanding, and the pursuit of excellence. He introduces readers to his concept of “Quality,” which he argues underlies all aspects of existence.

Narrative Structure: The book is not a conventional narrative but rather follows a nonlinear structure, weaving together philosophical musings, personal anecdotes, and the protagonist’s reflections on his motorcycle journey. This unconventional structure challenges readers to engage with the text in a different way.

Spiritual Themes: While not explicitly about Zen Buddhism or motorcycle maintenance, the book incorporates elements of both. Pirsig uses the act of motorcycle maintenance as a metaphor for the pursuit of understanding and the quest for inner peace. The title itself hints at the integration of Eastern philosophical principles with Western thought.

Cultural Impact: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” became a cultural phenomenon after its publication in 1974, resonating with a generation disillusioned with traditional values and seeking deeper meaning. It has since become a classic of contemporary literature, inspiring readers to contemplate the nature of existence and the pursuit of personal fulfilment.

Overall, the book’s unique blend of genres, profound philosophical insights, unconventional narrative structure, and lasting cultural impact set it apart as a distinctive and enduring work.



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