Gary Snyder

Gary
Snyder
1930

American Zen Poet (associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), Essayist, Lecturer, and Environmental Activist, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, translates literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese

Author Quotes

Clouds sink down the hills, coffee is hot again. The dog turns and turns about, stops and sleeps.

If, after obtaining Buddhahood, anyone in my land gets tossed in jail on a vagrancy rap, may I not attain highest perfect enlightenment.

Stay together. Learn the flowers. Go light.

Will be but corpses dressed in frocks, who cannot speak to birds or rocks.

Damn me not I make a better fool. And there is nothing vaster, more beautiful, remote, unthinking (eternal rose-red sunrise on the surf—great rectitude of rocks) than man, inhuman man, at whom I look for a thousand light years from a seat near Scorpio, amazed and touched by his concern and pity for my plight, a simple star, then trading shapes again. My wife is gone, my girl is gone, my books are loaned, my clothes are worn, I gave away a car; and all that happened years ago. Mind & matter, love & space are frail as foam on beer.

In the 40,000 year time scale we're all the same people. We're all equally primitive, give or take two or three thousand years here or a hundred years there.

Switchback, turn, turn, and again, hard scrabble steep travel ahead.

Gratitude to the Great Sky who holds billions of stars - and goes yet beyond that - beyond all powers, and thoughts and yet is within us - Grandfather Space. The Mind is his Wife

In the belly of the furnace of creativity is a sexual fire; the flames twine about each other in fear and delight. The same sort of coiling, at a cooler, slower pace, is what the life of this planet looks like. The enormous spirals of typhoons, the twists and turns of mountain ranges and gorges, the waves and the deep ocean currents - a dragon-like writhing.

That's the part most of us can remember being part of homeroom.

Great Brown Bear is walking with us, Salmon swimming upstream with us, as we stroll a city street.

In the glittering light I got drunk and reeled through the rooms, and cried, Cartagena! swamp of unholy loves! And wept for the Indian whores who were younger than me, and I was eighteen, and splashed after the crew down the streets wearing sandals bought at a stall and got back to the ship, dawn came, we were far out at sea.

The best thing you can do for the planet is to stay home.

Having a place means that you know what a place means... what it means in a storied sense of myth, character and presence but also in an ecological sense... Integrating native consciousness with mythic consciousness.

In the mountains it's cold. Always been cold, not just this year. Jagged scarps forever snowed in woods in the dark ravines spitting mist. Grass is still sprouting at the end of June, leaves begin to fall in early August. And here I am, high on mountains, peering and peering, but I can't even see the sky.

The blue mountains are constantly walking. D?gen is quoting the Chan master Furong. -- If you doubt mountains walking you do not know your own walking. -- D?gen is not concerned with sacred mountains - or pilgrimages, or spirit allies, or wilderness as some special quality. His mountains and streams are the processes of this earth, all of existence, process, essence, action, absence; they roll being and non-being together. They are what we are, we are what they are. For those who would see directly into essential nature, the idea of the sacred is a delusion and an obstruction: it diverts us from seeing what is before our eyes: plain thusness. Roots, stems, and branches are all equally scratchy. No hierarchy, no equality. No occult and exoteric, no gifted kids and slow achievers. No wild and tame, no bound or free, no natural and artificial. Each totally its own frail self. Even though connected all which ways; even because connected all which ways. This, thusness, is the nature of the nature of nature. The wild in wild. So the blue mountains walk to the kitchen and back to the shop, to the desk, to the stove. We sit on the park bench and let the wind and rain drench us. The blue mountains walk out to put another coin in the parking meter, and go down to the 7-Eleven. The blue mountains march out of the sea, shoulder the sky for a while, and slip back to into the waters.

Having a place means that you know what a place means...what it means in a storied sense of myth, character and presence but also in an ecological sense...Integrating native consciousness with mythic consciousness

In Western Civilization, our elders are books.

The Buddha taught that all life is suffering. We might also say that life, being both attractive and constantly dangerous, is intoxicating and ultimately toxic. 'Toxic' comes from toxicon, Pendell tells us, with a root meaning of 'a poisoned arrow.' All organic life is struck by the arrows of real and psychic poisons. This is understood by any true, that is to say, not self-deluding, spiritual path.

I have a friend who feels sometimes that the world is hostile to human life--he says it chills us and kills us. But how could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions--gravity and a livable temperature range between freezing and boiling--have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The place (from the root plat, broad, spreading, flat) gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind. We should be thankful for that, and take nature's stricter lessons with some grace.

It gave a sense of the possibilities of an alternative culture. And it wasn't just poetry that moved people. It was the sense of a community, of people with a vision.

The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”

I have lived at Cold Mountain these thirty long years. Yesterday I called on friends and family: more than half had gone to the Yellow Springs. Slowly consumed, like fire down a candle; forever flowing, like a passing river. Now, morning, I face my lone shadow: suddenly my eyes are bleared with tears.

It was really a blessing. It helped even out the conditions across the course.

The other side of the sacred is the sight of your beloved in the underworld, dripping with maggots.

Author Picture
First Name
Gary
Last Name
Snyder
Birth Date
1930
Bio

American Zen Poet (associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), Essayist, Lecturer, and Environmental Activist, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, translates literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese