In 1965, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen gathered at the base of Mt. Tamalpais, a lovely small mountain in Marin County that anchors the San Francisco Bay on its northwest side. Inspired by Tibetan and Indian practices of walking clockwise–“the way of the sun”–around a venerated object, they “opened the mountain” by completing the first circumambulation. They did it again two years later, a month after the “Human Be-in” in Golden Gate Park, and with greater company as they invited the public to join them. The practice has continued almost uninterrupted for forty years, with Matthew Davis finding an organizing role on April 8, 1971, the Buddha’s birthday, when he first led the walk. He has led the celebrations more than 140 times since.
The ritual walk–slightly less than 15 miles in length–marks the four quarters of the year. Ten way stations have been established for ceremonial chanting and prayer. With 80 remarkable photographs by Michael Farrell Scott, lovely drawings and maps, chants and poems, this book documents not only this particular spiritual practice but offers guidance for others wishing to establish similar practices in their own areas.