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Monotheism by whatever name has been the rationale for war and genocide forever. And the Unchosen, the inferior Others, are always demonized as an excuse to oppress them.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Monotheism by whatever name has
Be light, light, light - full of light!
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Be light, light, light -
Before my eyes daily as we sailed way down upon the Suwannee River were visions of spring furrows at Clouds Creek, the warmed earth opened up behind the plow; of wildflowered meadows, cool and verdant, and airy open woods along the shaded creeks, winding southeast to the Edisto. That spring landscape turned forever and away in my mind's eye, changing softly into gold greens of upland summer in that lost land where I was born, the country of my forefathers, the heart of home. Clouds Creek - my earth - was the wellspring and the source of Edgar Watson, all the Eden he had ever wished or hoped to find.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Before my eyes daily as
In this toxic atmosphere, good intentions are eroding like the noses of stone gargoyles on cathedral peaks.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In this toxic atmosphere, good
The Lama of the Crystal Monastery appears to be a very happy man, and yet I wonder how he feels about his isolation in the silences of Tsakang, which he has not left in eight years now and, because of his legs, may never leave again. Since Jang-bu seems uncomfortable with the Lama or with himself or perhaps with us, I tell him not to inquire on this point if it seems to him impertinent, but after a moment Jang-bu does so. And this holy man of great directness and simplicity, big white teeth shining, laughs out loud in an infectious way at Jang-bu's question. Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, Of course I am happy here! It's wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The Lama of the Crystal
The equatorial monsoons which brought a rainy season to the coasts had small effect here in the highlands, from moon to moon, the rainfall varied little. Winter, summer, autumn, spring were involuted, turning in upon themselves, a slow circling of time.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The equatorial monsoons which brought
My foot slips on a narrow ledge; in that split second, as needles of fear pierce heart and temples, eternity intersects with present time. Thought and action are not different, and stone, air, ice, sun, fear, and self are one. What is exhilarating is to extend this acute awareness into ordinary moments, in the moment-by-moment experiencing of the lammergeier and the wolf, which, finding themselves at the center of things, have no need for any secret of true being. In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us ... the present moment. The purpose of mediation practice is not enlightenment' it is to pay attention even at unextraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: My foot slips on a
Small bits of life crawled and flew about the ward on ancient business.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Small bits of life crawled
Mistaking Lucius's silence for acquiescence, he pointed a hard finger at his eyes. Maybe nobody don't need this truth you're lookin for, ever think about that?
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Mistaking Lucius's silence for acquiescence,
Life begins before a soul is born and commences once again with the act of dying, and as in the Afro-Asian symbol of the snake of eternity swallowing its tail, all is in flux, all comes full circle, with no beginning and no end.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Life begins before a soul
The sun, coming hard around the world: the island rises from the sea, sinks, rises, holds.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The sun, coming hard around
You see ... a man like me, a cautious man, has his life all figured out according to a pattern, and then the pattern flies apart. You run around for quite a while trying to repair it, until one day you straighten up again with an armful of broken pieces, and you see that the world has gone on without you and you can never catch up with your old life, and you must begin all over again.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: You see ... a man
Well, he was scarcely a parfit gentil knight; as Wolfie said, he looked like some Hollywood Geronimo trying to kick a ninety-dollar habit.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Well, he was scarcely a
Illuminated by the same joyful curiosity and erudition, lyric writing, and plain love of life that made a classic of Archie Carr's The Windward Road.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Illuminated by the same joyful
Tukum is at times forgetful about his pigs, being readily distracted by other children, dragonflies, puddles of water, and wild foods.
Nevertheless, Tukem is a very proud little boy, and since his nami lives Lukigin, where his mother has already gone, he has decided to go away for good. This morning he put on his thin neck the cowrie collar with its brief string of shells which is his sole belonging, he smeared his body with pig grease until it shone, in order to make a fine impression at Lukigin ... Then he set off alone on the long journey in the sun across the woods and fields, a small brown figure with a flat head and pot belly. His back was turned on Wuperainma, his pigs and his friends, his childhood, and he clutched a frail stick in his hand.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Tukum is at times forgetful
And only the enlightened can recall their former lives; for the rest of us, the memories of past existences are but glints of light, twinges of longing, passing shadows, disturbingly familiar, that are gone before they can be grasped, like the passage of that silver bird on Dhaulagiri.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: And only the enlightened can
The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no "meaning," they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The secret of the mountain
The pig had been killed because spirits, like people, cannot resist the smell of cooking pig.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The pig had been killed
Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed, things merely change shape or form ... the cosmic radiation that is thought to come from the explosion of creation strikes the earth with equal intensity from all directions, which suggests either that the earth is at the center of the universe, as in our innocence we once supposed, or that the known universe has no center.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Today most scientists would agree
In nonfiction, you have that limitation, that constraint, of telling the truth.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In nonfiction, you have that
There is a silence in the imminence of animals and also in the echo of their noise, but the dread silence is the one that rises from a wilderness from which all the wild animals have gone.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: There is a silence in
The purpose of our life is to help others through it.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The purpose of our life
Experience was static in the valley; it was older than time itself, for time was a thing of but two generations, dated by moons and ending with the day in which he found himself.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Experience was static in the
We have outsmarted ourselves, like greedy monkeys, and now we are full of dread.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: We have outsmarted ourselves, like
The glee of it. The ecstasy of It. I can't speak about this It because I know no word. It is just there, It is always there, like death in life. In this instant I know that something terrible is rising that must be seized and turned back upon itself before it twists outward into violence. But that knowing always comes too late, a wild unraveling is under way and I am caught up in it like a coyote seen late one afternoon in an Arkansas tornado-a toy dog spinning skyward, struck white by a ray of sun against black clouds, then black, then white, then gone and lost forever. The wind dies. A dead stillness. Mirror water. That ecstasy that shivered every nerve replaced by the precise knowing that what this self perpetrated is as much a part of the universal will as erupting lava that subsides once more into the inner earth.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The glee of it. The
For people who must live from day to day, past and future have small relevance, and their grasp of it is fleeting; they live in the moment, a very precious gift that we have lost.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: For people who must live
Maya is Time, the illusion of the ego, the stuff of individual existence, the dream that separates us from a true perception of the whole. It is often likened to a sealed glass vessel that separates the air within from the clear and unconfined air all around, or water from the all encompassing sea. Yet the vessel is not different from the sea, and to shatter or dissolve it brings about the reunion with all universal life that mystics seek, the homegoing, the return to the lost paradise of our "true nature."

Today science is telling us what the Vedas have taught mankind for three thousand years, that we do not see the universe as it is. What we see is Maya, or Illusion, the "magic show" of Nature, a collective hallucination of that part of our consciousness which is shared with all of our own kind, and which gives a common ground, a continuity, to the life experience. According to Buddhists (but not Hindus), this world perceived by the senses, this relative but not absolute reality, this dream, also exists, also has meaning; but it is only one aspect of the truth, like the cosmic vision of this goat by the crooked door, gazing through sheets of rain into the mud.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Maya is Time, the illusion
Webster growled a Webster kind of prayer: "God Almighty, here is two more meek that has inherited Your earth." Webster spoke in his own peculiar way; we never did learn how to hear him.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Webster growled a Webster kind
By midafternoon soft snow is falling, muffling four voices that rise from the cardinal points around the circle, north, south, east, and west,intoning names from registration lists obtained by Rainer from museum archives in Berlin--long lists that represent but tiny fractions of that fraction of new prisoners who survived, however briefly, the first selections on this platform and were tattooed with small blue numbers. The impeccable lists include city and country of origin, arrival date, and date of death, not infrequently on that same day or the next.

Column after column, page after page, of the more common family names ascend softly from the circle of still figures to be borne away on gusts of wind-whirled snow. Schwartz, Herschel; Schwartz, Isaac A.; Schwartz, Isaac D.; Schwartz, Isidor--Who? Isidor? You too? The voices are all but inaudible as befits snuffed-out identities that exist only on lists, with no more reality than forgotten faces in old photo albums--Who's this bald guy in the back? Stray faces of no more significance than wind fragments of these names of long ago, of no more substance than this snowflake poised one moment on his pen before dissolving into voids beyond all Knowing. In Paradise 87-88
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: By midafternoon soft snow is
Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake. We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Zen is really just a
Where to begin? Do we measure the relaxing of the feet? The moment when the eye glimpses the hawk, when instinct functions? For in this pure action, this pure moving of the bird, there is no time, no space, but only the free doing-being of this very moment -now!
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Where to begin? Do we
Left alone, I am overtaken by the northern void-no wind, no cloud, no track, no bird, only the crystal crescents between peaks, the ringing monuments of rock that, freed from the talons of ice and snow, thrust an implacable being into the blue. In the early light, the rock shadows on the snow are sharp; in the tension between light and dark is the power of the universe. This stillness to which all returns, this is reality, and soul and sanity have no more meaning than a gust of snow; such transience and insignificance are exalting, terrifying, all at once ... Snow mountains, more than sea or sky, serve as a mirror to one's own true being, utterly still, utterly clear, a void, an Emptiness without life or sound that carries in Itself all life, all sound.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Left alone, I am overtaken
The progress of the sciences toward theories of fundamental unity, cosmic symmetry (as in the unified field theory) - how do such theories differ, in the end, from that unity which Plato called "unspeakable" and "indiscribable," the holistic knowledge shared by so many peoples of the earth, Christians included, before the advent of the industrial revolution made new barbarians of the peoples of the West? In the United States, before spiritualist foolishness at the end of the last century confused mysticism with "the occult" and tarnished both, William James wrote a master work of metaphysics; Emerson spoke of "the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One . . ."; Melville referred to "that profound silence, that only voice of God"; Walt Whitman celebrated the most ancient secret, that no God could be found "more divine than yourself.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The progress of the sciences
It is said in Java that the tiger's hearing is so acute that hunters must keep their nose hairs cut lest the tiger hear the breath whistle through their nostrils.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: It is said in Java
Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined - how is it that this safe return brings such regret?
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Here I am, safely returned
In his first summers, forsaking all his toys, my son would stand rapt for nearly an hour in his sandbox in the orchard, as doves and redwings came and went on the warm wind, the leaves dancing, the clouds flying ... the child was not observing; he was at rest in the very center of the universe, a part of things, unaware of endings and beginning, still in unison with the primordial nature of creation, letting all light and phenomena pour through.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In his first summers, forsaking
Sometimes the women much resent the men who call for war and have been known to rush upon them and beat them severely about the head and shoulders.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Sometimes the women much resent
Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly beneath a bulb which illumined little more than grime and moisture, Moon stared awhile at the cement wall; it took just such a hopeless international latrine in the early hours of a morning, when a man was weak in the knees, short in the breath, numb in the forehead and rotten in the gut, to make him wonder where he was, how he got there, where he was going; he realized that he did not know and never would. He had confronted this same latrine on every continent and not once had it come up with an answer; or rather, it always came up with the same answer, a suck and gurgle of unspeakable vileness, a sort of self-satisfied low chuckling: Go to it, man, you're pissing your life away.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly
When I'm in the field, when I'm working, I keep very careful notes. I wear big shirts with big breast pockets, and I carry in them two little spiral notebooks.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: When I'm in the field,
In sexual abandon as in danger we are impelled, however briefly, into that vital present in which we do not stand apart from life, we ARE life, our being fills us, in ecstasy with another being, loneliness falls away into eternity. But in other days, such union was attainable through simple awe.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In sexual abandon as in
The mystical perception (which is only "mystical" if reality is limited to what can be measured by the intellect and senses) is remarkably consistent in all ages and all places. All phenomena are processes, connections, all is in flux ... have the mind screens knocked away to see there is no real edge to anything, that in the endless interpenetration of the universe, a molecular flow, a cosmic energy shimmers in all stone and steel as well as flesh ...
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The mystical perception (which is
You truly see by not trying to see.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: You truly see by not
I'm surprised you holy people talk to me," Wolfie said suddenly, "after what I done." He swayed there a moment, frowning. "As a Catholic priest, I must accept men's frailty. And as a European I am too old and tired to expend emotion upon matters I can do nothing about.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I'm surprised you holy people
After midday, the rain eased, and the Land Rover rode into Pokhara on a shaft of storm light. Next day there was humid sun and shifting southern skies, but to the north a deep tumult of swirling grays was all that could be seen of the Himalaya. At dusk, white egrets flapped across the sunken clouds, now black with rain; on earth, the dark had come. Then four miles above these mud streets of the lowlands, at a point so high as to seem overhead, a luminous whiteness shone- the light of snows. Glaciers loomed and vanished in the grays, and the sky parted, and the snow cone of Machhapuchare glistened like a spire of a higher kingdom. In the night, the stars convened, and the vast ghost of Machhapuchare radiated light, although there was no moon.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: After midday, the rain eased,
In zazen, one is one's present self, what one was, and what one will be, all at once.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In zazen, one is one's
There is a difference between right and wrong, always was and always will be, but each man's wrong and each man's right are different.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: There is a difference between
Trouble was, they never let on to their sons how scared they was - so scared they forgot the color of a man because he could outshoot the man who scared 'em. And bein ashamed, they never talked about it or discussed it in the family.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Trouble was, they never let
The great stillness in these landscapes that once made me restless seeps into me day by day, and with it the unreasonable feeling that I have found what I was searching for without ever having discovered what it was.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The great stillness in these
I like to hear and smell the countryside, the land that my characters inhabit. I don't want these characters to step off the page, I want them to step out of the landscape.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I like to hear and
It is as if I have entered what the Tibetans call the Bardo-literally, between-two-existences- a dreamlike hallucination that precedes reincarnation, not necessarily in human form ... In case I should need them, instructions for passage through the Bardo are contained in the Tibetan book of the dead- a guide for the living since it teaches that a man's last thoughts will determine the quality of his reincarnation.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: It is as if I
I was overtaken by a dread of utter solitude in the great turning world.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I was overtaken by a
The Zen expression "Kill the Buddha!" means to kill any concept of the Buddha as something apart from oneself.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The Zen expression
Figures dark beneath their loads pass down the far bank of the river, rendered immortal by the streak of sunset upon their shoulders
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Figures dark beneath their loads
And it is a profound consolation, perhaps the only one, to this haunted animal that wastes most of a long and ghostly life wandering the future and the past on its hind legs, looking for meanings, only to see in the eyes of others of its kind that it must die.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: And it is a profound
Though a few older men cut fingers in time of grief, it is usually the smallest girls who are selected for this ceremony, and a woman in the valley whose left hand is not a stump is very rare.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Though a few older men
THey were jeered and admired by both sides and were not shot at, for display and panoply were part of war, which was less war than ceremonial sport, a wild, fierce festival ... A day of war was dangerous and splendid, regardless of its outcome; it was a war of individuals and gallantry, quite innocent of tactics and cold slaughter. A single death
or two or three
was the end purpose of the war ...
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: THey were jeered and admired
Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing - if this must come - seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange such as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush. There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Of all African animals, the
It is difficult to adjust because I do not know who is adjusting; I am no longer that old person and not yet the new.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: It is difficult to adjust
There are no roads west of Pohkara, which is the last outpost of the modern world; in one days walk we are a century away.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: There are no roads west
After four hundred years of betrayals and excuses, Indians recognize the new fashion in racism, which is to pretend that the real Indians are all gone.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: After four hundred years of
And perhaps this is what Tukten knows - that the journey to Dolpo, step by step and day by day, is the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus, the Tao, the Way, the Path, but no more so than small events of days at home.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: And perhaps this is what
It was a gringo; in the remote corners of the world the short-sleeved flowered tourist shirt, the steel-rimmed glasses, khaki pants and bulldog shoes had become the uniform of earnest American enterprise. Moon recognized the man as the new missionary. His head was cropped too close, so that his white skull gleamed, and the red skin of his neck and jaw was riddled with old acne; his face was bald with anxiety and tiresome small agonies.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: It was a gringo; in
A far cicada rings high and clear over the river's heavy wash. Morning glory, a lone dandelion, cassia, orchids. So far from the nearest sea, I am taken aback by the sight of a purple land crab, like a relict of the ancient days when the Indian subcontinent, adrift on the earth's mantle, moved northward to collide with the Asian landmass, driving these marine rocks, inch by inch, five miles into the skies. The rise of the Himalaya, begun in the Eocene, some fifty million years ago, is still continuing: an earthquake in 1959 caused mountains to fall into the rivers and changed the course of the great Brahmaputra, which comes down out of Tibet through northeastern India to join the Ganges near its delta at the Bay of Bengal.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: A far cicada rings high
You sucked it up in your mother's milk, that hate.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: You sucked it up in
In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In this very breath that
The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The concept of conservation is
In the clearness of this Himalayan air, mountains draw near, and in such splendor, tears come quietly to my eyes and cool on my sunburned cheeks. this is not mere soft-mindedness, nor am I all that silly with the altitude. My head has cleared in these weeks free of intrusions- mail, telephones, people and their needs- and I respond to things spontaneously, without defensive or self-conscious screens. Still, all this feeling is astonishing: not so long ago I could say truthfully that I had not shed a tear in twenty years.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: In the clearness of this
The white man, as one Indian said, "was in the Black Hills just like maggots";10 wasicu, or "the greedy one" (literally, "he-who-takes-the-fat"),11 was the term the Lakota used to describe the miners, and it later became their term for whites in general. "The love of possessions is a disease with them," said Sitting Bull, who was never behindhand in his contempt.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The white man, as one
This man would rob them graves himself, being some way starved by life, bone greedy.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: This man would rob them
I ... had what Kierkegaard called 'the sickness of infinitude,' wandering from one path to another with no real recognition that I was embarked upon a search, and scarcely a clue as to what I might be after. I only knew that at the bottom of each breath there was a hollow place that needed to be filled.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I ... had what Kierkegaard
As the hand held before the eye conceals the greatest mountain, so the little earthly life hides from the glance the enormous lights and mysteries of which the world is full, and he who can draw it away from before his eyes, as one draws away a hand, beholds the great shining of the inner worlds. RABBI NACHMANN OF BRATZLAV
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: As the hand held before
free life" as described by a mountaineer: "The mountains had been a natural field of activity where, playing on the frontiers of life and death, we had found the freedom for which we were blindly groping and which was as necessary to us as breath.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: free life
The slow stone metamorphoses filled him with longing - longing for what? Simplicity? Was simplicity the true nature of homegoing? The simple harmonies, earth order and abundance. In this churchyard in a woodland meadow at the end of a white road, he missed what he had never known, the peace of living one day then another in communion with others of one's blood and at the end, at the close of one's works and days, to draw that last breath and come to rest in earth where one's bones belonged.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The slow stone metamorphoses filled
Transfixed by the bright gaze of a lizard, I become calm. This stone on which the lizard lies was under the sea when lizards first came into being, and now the flood is wearing it away, to return it once again into the oceans.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Transfixed by the bright gaze
I was just very interested in the American frontier and the growth of capitalism - those enormous fortunes that were being made, more often than not, on the blood of poor people, black people, Indian people. They were the ones who paid very dearly for those great fortunes.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I was just very interested
My eye is fixed not on the ending of the book but on the feeling of that ending.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: My eye is fixed not
From Kathmandu there is a road through Gorkha Country to Pokhara, in the central foothills; farther west, no roads exist at all. The road winds through steep gorges of the Trisuli River, now in torrent; dirty whitecaps filled the rapids, and the brown flood was thickened every now and again by thunderous rockslides down the walls of the ravine.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: From Kathmandu there is a
Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterpreted experience, in which body, mind, and nature are the same. This retreat from wonder, the backing away like lobsters into safe crannies, the desperate instinct that our life passes unlived, is reflected in proliferation without joy, corrosive money rot, the gross befouling of the earth and air and water from which we came.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Amazingly, we take for granted
I meditate for the last time on this mountain that is bare, though others all around are white with snow. Like the bare peak of the koan, this one is not different from myself. I know this mountain because I am this mountain, I can feel it breathing at this moment, as its grass tops stray against the snows. If the snow leopard should leap from the rock above and manifest itself before me - S-A-A-O! - then in that moment of pure fright, out of my wits, I might truly perceive it, and be free.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I meditate for the last
White crescents beneath the pupils made his pale blue eyes seem to protrude, though they did not: lacking depth, they appeared to be inset into the skin like stones in hide.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: White crescents beneath the pupils
The central feature of the practice of meditation and hard work known as Zen is that, as Matthiessen says, it "has no patience with mysticism, far less the occult." Nor does it have any time with moralism, the prescriptions or distortions we would impose on the world, obscuring it from our view. It asks, it insists rather, that we take this moment for what it is, undistracted, and not cloud it with needless worries of what might have been or fantasies of what might come to be. It is, essentially, a training in the real ... "the Universe itself is the scripture of Zen." Pico Iyer from introduction.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The central feature of the
With the advent of this something-not-known (which he scarcely dares consider lest it vanish), the metastasizing animosities among the witness bearers are dissolving, as if the Dancing were sealing their acceptance of all woebegone humankind in all its greed and cruelties as the only creature capable of evil and the only one - surely those two are connected - aware that it must die.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: With the advent of this
The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: The sun is roaring, it
For some time I watch the coming of the night? Above is the glistening galaxy of childhood, now hidden in the Western world by air pollution and the glare of artificial light; for my children's children, the power, peace and healing of the night will be obliterated.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: For some time I watch
You do your best work when you're not conscious of yourself.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: You do your best work
I used to distinguish between my fiction and nonfiction in terms of superiority or inferiority.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: I used to distinguish between
To glimpse one's own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon - the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the upper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again into the sky.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: To glimpse one's own true
This is a fine chance to let go, to "win my life by losing it," which means not recklessness but acceptance, not passivity but nonattachment.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: This is a fine chance
From the first day I met his daughter, all I could think about was snuffling up under that sweet dimity like some bad old bear, just crawling up into that honeycomb, nose twitching, and never come out of there till early spring. Think that's disgusting? Dammit, I do, too, but that's the way male animals are made. Those peculiar delights were created to entrap us, and anybody who disapproves can take it up with God.

In their wondrous capacity of knowing the Lord's mind, churchly folks will tell you that He would purely hate to hear such dirty talk. My idea is, He wouldn't mind it half so much as they would have us think, because even according to their own queer creed, we are God's handiwork, created in His image, lust, piss, shit, and all. Without that magnificent Almighty lust that we mere mortals dare to call a sin, there wouldn't be any more mortals, and God's grand design for the human race, if He exists and if He ever had one, would turn to dust, and dust unto dust, forever and amen. Other creatures would step up and take over, realizing that man was too weak and foolish to properly reproduce himself. I nominate hogs to inherit the Earth, because hogs love to eat any old damned thing God sets in front of them, and they're ever so grateful for God's green earth even when it's all rain and mud, and they just plain adore to feed and fuck and frolic and fulfill God's holy plan. For all we know, it's hogs which are created in God's image, who's to say?
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: From the first day I
It is related that Sakyamuni [the historical Buddha] once dismissed as of small consequence a feat of levitation on the part of a disciple, and cried out in pity for a yogin by the river who had spent twenty years of his human existence learning to walk on water, when the ferryman might have taken him across for a small coin.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: It is related that Sakyamuni
Simplicity is the whole secret of well-being.
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Simplicity is the whole secret
Anyone who thinks they can save the world is both wrong and dangerous
Peter Matthiessen Quotes: Anyone who thinks they can
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