Zen Essay, Research Paper
Gary Snyder spoke of the wide blue skies, the prairie, and the nearly forgotten buffalo. Few in this backstabbing artificial-Wall Street World can truly understand man’s bond with nature. Man has stepped from the wilderness into a more dangerous place. A place lacking spirit. The only predators are unpredictable: other men. Long ago men lived in tribes. These tribes were based on collective thought, group interaction, and true cohesion. The environment and its dangers were the uniting bond. As our environment has dissolved, people no longer feel that bond. Brothers no longer love brothers. Mothers and Fathers fear their children instead of loving them. Nature’s disappearance is the cause. Nature is what men are. Native Americans are masters. Their understanding and stoic acceptance are how thing all men formerly possessed. That ideal is why men still hold them in awe. It is the sense of loss and nostalgia that fosters that opinion. There is no respect fore nature anymore. Snyder spoke of how nature shaped our existence. Our repayment for nature’s trials is not acceptable. The hunt for food, and thus survival has turned into senseless slaughter of nature’s children. The respect for our “original” home has dissipated into ignorance and fear.
Gary Snyder’s arguments represented America’s equivalent of Zen. Being Native American myself furthers my understanding of my people’s deep respect for nature. Faith in the Great Spirit is similar to the unquestioning acknowledgement of “suchness.” Had Ma-Tsu or Dogen been “Moving Softly” or “Bear Killer” their insights would have excited the elders. Zen is complementary to Native American ideals. Snyder captures East Asian philosophy’s connection with ancient Indian ideals. Tribe elders and Zen masters would be able to recognize each other’s true insight at a glance. Buddha-nature is the same “spirit-seeking” that tribal shamans have been doing for centuries untold. Our true nature is the running deer and the growl of a bear. It has been with us since we lived in cave. It is just as it is.