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The Sun Interview

The Legacy Of The Wild

An Interview With Gary Snyder

One vivid night in India more than seven years ago, I was on my way to Bodh Gaya, the village where it is believed Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Traveling by rail, my friends Jack and Liana Kornfield and I arrived in Gaya, the closest train stop to Bodh Gaya, located in one of the poorest states in India. Gaya is a medium-sized industrial city no tourists visit except to pass through on their way to Bodh Gaya. We emerged from the train in the middle of the night, exhausted from a long journey.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories


We are immortal until the hour death first seizes our imagination. This goes for species as well as individuals. To die you must once consider death and think of it as beautiful. All spiritual advances are advances in aesthetics.



What Henry wants to be is an actor, but in the meantime he teaches a course called “Great Plagues.” What I want to do is play for the Lakers, engineering the break while Kareem signals for the lob. For now I sit in an office at City Hall with PLANNING ASSOCIATE stenciled in black on the door, which means that I spend my time trying to figure out where to hide thirty thousand tons of garbage each week. I really don’t have anything to say on the subject of plagues, major or minor, but I agree to guest-lecture because Henry has an audition for a lawn mower commercial and wants to save his voice.

Gary Blake

I met Gary Blake at the meditation hall. It was a place of silence, but Gary Blake was not a silent man. At an evening sitting, he sat next to me and whispered about how his knee hurt, then how he wished he had a ham sandwich, and how he wanted to have a black robe like the Roshi’s. I tried by turns to ignore him and then to put my finger to my lips and whisper, “Shhh.”

Tales Of Lord Shantih

“Where are these gods you speak about?” a skeptic asked the Lord Shantih. “I have lived many years and have traveled far, and I have never seen a god. They must be very well hidden.”

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write


We lived on a cattle and sheep ranch. At seven, I was allowed to ride one small bay mare; by the time I was ten, I’d about gotten the hang of it. One day Grandpa mentioned casually that he planned on riding through the cows next Saturday. Would I like to come along?

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


In blocking off what hurts us, we think we are walling ourselves off from pain. But in the long run, the wall, which prevents growth, hurts us more than the pain, which, if we will only bear it, soon passes over us. Washes over us and is gone. Long will we remember pain, but the pain itself, as it was at the point of intensity that made us feel as if we must die of it, eventually vanishes. Our memory of it becomes its only trace. Walls remain. They grow moss. They are difficult barriers to cross, to get to others, to get to closed-down parts of ourselves.

Alice Walker
The Temple Of My Familiar

More Quotations ▸
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