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Opening the Mountain

Circumabulating Mount Tamalpais, A Ritual Walk

List Price: $20.00

October 26, 2006 | Paperback | 10-1/2 x 7, 176 pages | ISBN 9781593761271
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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.

About The Authors

Gary Snyder is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry and prose. Since 1970 he has lived in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, Snyder has also been awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. His 1992 collection, No Nature, was a National Book Award finalist, and in 2008 he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Snyder is a poet, environmentalist, educator and Zen Buddhist.

Matthew Davis wrote a column on walks for his local newspaper for ten years and published On Foot in Homestead for the Homestead Valley Land Trust. He holds a BA from San Francisco State University with emphasis on graphic arts and creative writing and has spent over four decades picture framing, house building, gardening, fathering, meditating, and practicing the circumambulation of Mt. Tamalpais. He lives in Mill Valley, California.

Gary Snyder is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry and prose. Since 1970 he has lived in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, Snyder has also been awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. His 1992 collection, No Nature, was a National Book Award finalist, and in 2008 he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Snyder is a poet, environmentalist, educator and Zen Buddhist.

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