Gary Snyder and the XIVth Dalai Lama

Today is the Dalai Lama’s 80th rebirthday. When I hosted His Holiness at the Aurora Forum at Stanford on November 3–4, 2005,  I presented him with a copy of Mountains and Rivers Without End. I reminded him that the poet, Gary Snyder, and his traveling companions, Joanne Kyger, Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky visited him at his headquarters in Dharamshala on March 31, 1962.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Stanford on November 4, 2005. From left to right: Scotty McLennan, HHDL, Mark Gonnerman, Thupten Jinpa. His Holiness has just received the gift of Gary Snyder’s ‘Mountains and Rivers Without End.’

In his record of his travels in India, Gary writes:

The Dalai Lama doesn’t spend all his time at the ashram; in fact he had just returned from a tour of south India, Mysore, where a few Tibetan refugee settlements are. And the last thing I heard (since I got back to Japan) is that he’s going to set out and do some real Buddhist preaching over India, and maybe Europe and America eventually, spinning the wheel of the Dharma. He is at the least a very keen-minded well-read man, and probably lots more than that. Also, he himself is still in training—there are the “Senior Gurus of the Dalai Lama,” the most learned of Tibetans, who keep him on a hard study schedule and are constantly testing and debating with him (Passage Through India [San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1983], 84).*

* An expanded and photographically illustrated edition of Snyder’s account of his half-year in India was published by Shoemaker & Hoard in 2007. This report was first published in Caterpillar (19/3) in 1972.