When Matthiessen took his Himalaya trek, recreated in The Snow Leopard, he secretly hoped that a ""great clarity'' would emerge from his ordeal in the snowy mountains. A disciple of Zen Buddhism since 1970 when his wife introduced him to meditation, he plunged more deeply into Zen after her death. This moving, highly personal story attempts to convey the essence of the Zen experience as the journal shuttles between an account of modern Zen masters in America, details of the Buddha's life, lyrical introspection and poetic recollections of Nepal, Tibet, India and Japan. Matthiessen excells at detailed descriptions of inner mental states (``In zazen, one is one's present self, what one was, and what one will be, all at once''). Zen helps him to live in the present, unencumbered by regret of the past or daydreams of the future, and this intensely felt journal communicates his faith. The log concludes with Matthiessen's 1982 pilgrimage to Japan to visit his 75-year-old former teacher. (April 15)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986 Release date: 03/01/1986 Genre: Nonfiction
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