Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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This paper examines certain similarities between Native American beliefs and Zen Buddhist teachings and demonstrates how Gary Snyder fuses these two traditions in his poetry. Through the analysis it has been found that the Native American wisdom of the interrelatedness of humans and nature has an affinity with the fundamental Buddhist principle of the interpenetration and interdependence of all existence or as Thich Nhat Han calls it "the inter being nature of things." Gary Snyder has developed his love of nature concurrently with his respect for Native American traditions and his interest in Zen Buddhism. Snyder draws on the primitive oral traditions of chants, incantations and songs to communicate his experiences. Like the shaman-poet of primitive cultures and in imitation of Buddhist teachings, Snyder seeks to restore reverence for nature and reestablish a harmonious relationship with the universe. Apart from emulating certain Native American beliefs and Zen Buddhist principles, Gary Snyder makes use of Zen Buddhist poetic techniques which bear some resemblance to the oral poetic tradition of the Native Americans that precedes the influence of the white man. The precision of tersely worded images reminiscent of imagistic poetry, conciseness, concreteness, simple and ordinary language, as well as an abundant use of nature and animal imagery, which are common characteristics of both poetic traditions, find their way into the poetry of Gary Snyder.

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