Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals
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In this hauntingly beautiful book, renowned explorer, naturalist, and novelist Peter Matthiessen describes his highly personal quest for a spiritual path. As a naturalist-explorer, Peter Matthiessen has participated in expeditions to remote regions, including the Amazon jungles, the Canadian Northwest Territories, the Sudan, New Guinea, and Nepal. But in this new work, he describes a spiritual journey, perhaps the most daring of all. Nine-Headed Dragon River is Matthiessen's most personal work to date. Written in the same journal format as his best-selling The Snow Leopard, it chronicles his quest for spiritual roots from his first meeting in the driveway of his home in Sagaponack, Long Island, in 1969 with "three inscrutable small men," who turned out to be Japanese Zen masters, to his 1982 pilgrimage to Japan as a Buddhist monk, Matthiessen writes openly and candidly about his struggles for self-understanding. In beautiful and moving passages he tells of the illness and subsequent death ofhis wife and his gradual reawakening to life through Zen. Interspersed with his own story is a history of Buddhism in America and lyrical descriptions of nature. Observant as ever of the tiniest creatures around him from the moth to the dragonfly, Matthiessen brings alive the beauties of Japan and the Japanese people in a completely fresh and startling way. Like The Snow Leopard, this is "a book fiercely felt and magnificently written" (Washington Post Book World).