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Gary Snyder quotes (showing 1-30 of 49)

“O, ah! The awareness of emptiness brings forth a heart of compassion!”
Gary Snyder
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
Gary Snyder
“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
Gary Snyder
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
Gary Snyder
“When the mind is exhausted of images, it invents its own.”
Gary Snyder, Earth House Hold
“stay together
learn the flowers
go light”
Gary Snyder
“I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.”
Gary Snyder
“As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.”
Gary Snyder
“Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they really like the cage they were tricked into entering.”
Gary Snyder
“In Western Civilization, our elders are books.”
Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild: Essays
“All that we did was human,
stupid, easily forgiven,
Not quite right.”
Gary Snyder
“Nature is orderly. That which appears to be chaotic in nature is only a more complex kind of order.”
Gary Snyder
“With no surroundings there can be no path, and with no path one cannot become free.”
Gary Snyder, Practice of the Wild
“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.”
Gary Snyder
“Being the Stream

Meditation is not just a rest or retreat from the turmoil of the
stream or the impurity of the world. It is a way of being the stream,
so that one can be at home in both the white water and the eddies.
Meditation may take one out of the world, but it also puts one totally
into it.”
Gary Snyder
“All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.”
Gary Snyder
“I hold the most archaic values on earth ... the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude.... the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.”
Gary Snyder
“Range after range of mountains.
Year after year after year.
I am still in love.”
Gary Snyder
“But if you do know what is taught by plants and weather, you are in on the gossip and can feel truly at home. The sum of a field's forces [become] what we call very loosely the 'spirit of the place.' To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made or parts, each of which in a whole. You start with the part you are whole in.”
Gary Snyder, The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry and Translations 1952-1998
“Today we are aware as never before of the plurality of human life-styles and possibilities, while at the same time being tied, like in an old silent movie, to a runaway locomotive rushing headlong toward a very singular catastrophe”
Gary Snyder, Earth House Hold
“The size of the place that one becomes
a member of is limited only by
the size of one’s heart.”
Gary Snyder
“I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life,
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”
Gary Snyder
“Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks.
placed solid, by hands
In choice of place, set
Before the body of the mind
in space and time:
Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall
riprap of things:
Cobble of milky way.
straying planets,
These poems, people,
lost ponies with
Dragging saddles --
and rocky sure-foot trails.
The worlds like an endless
four-dimensional
Game of Go.
ants and pebbles
In the thin loam, each rock a word
a creek-washed stone
Granite: ingrained
with torment of fire and weight
Crystal and sediment linked hot
all change, in thoughts,
As well as things.”
Gary Snyder
“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.”
Gary Snyder, Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft
“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”
Gary Snyder
“Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?”
Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems
“The blue mountains are constantly walking." Dōgen is quoting the Chan master Furong. -- "If you doubt mountains walking you do not know your own walking."

-- Dōgen 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.”
Gary Snyder, Practice of the Wild
“The other side of the "sacred" is the sight of your beloved in the underworld, dripping with maggots.”
Gary Snyder, Practice of the Wild
tags: truth
“Clouds sink down the hills
Coffee is hot again. The dog
Turns and turns about, stops and sleeps.”
Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems
“All those years and their moments—
Crackling bacon, slamming car doors,
Poems tried out on friends,
Will be one more archive,
One more shaky text.”
Gary Snyder

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