The nine captivatingly meditative essays in The Practice of the Wild display the deep understanding and wide erudition of Gary Snyder in the ways of Buddhist belief, wildness, wildlife, and the world. These essays, first published in 1990, stand as the mature centerpiece of Snyder’s work and thought, and this profound collection is widely accepted as one of the central texts on wilderness and the interaction of nature and culture.
“This new edition, with a new preface, is as fresh and as important as its initial publication twenty years ago, indeed even more significant, as we are now experiencing the planet’s own drive toward the wild with resulting climatic changes. I owned poetry of Gary Snyder, but I was not familiar with his prose. What a profound pleasure is his essays! Erudite, wide-ranging, and spiritual, the various sections look to indigenous peoples, their lore and way of life in comparative balance with the environment, to Snyder’s own varied work experiences and sojourn in Japan to study Zen, to discussions of the flora and fauna of the Pacific coast and mountains. He properly distinguishes Nature, wilderness, and wild, and observes how civilization, mainly Western, has increasingly separated humankind from nature and from our animalness. [It is natural for people to create dense cities, differentiate labor, develop complex communications, and apply mathematics; ask a honeybee.] Underlying all the socio-political elements is guidance on grasping and living the deep ecology of existence, of rejoining the wild even while working in business offices and factories. Snyder’s introduction of Buddhism is not its philosophies, nor its details of practices, but its lessons of practical living. Reading this book will give pause and help reconsider one’s life and societal direction. It will help find beauty in the familiar and joy in wild weeds.” – Dr. Debra Jan Bibel
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