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The snow leopard von Peter Matthiessen
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The snow leopard (Original 1978; 2008. Auflage)

von Peter Matthiessen

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
2,250465,083 (3.97)98
"In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest{u2014} to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty."--Publisher information.… (mehr)
Mitglied:Anotherbook92360
Titel:The snow leopard
Autoren:Peter Matthiessen
Info:New York : Penguin books, 2008.
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Werk-Details

Auf der Spur des Schneeleoparden. von Peter Matthiessen (1978)

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The Himalayas (a name composed of "alaya" meaning home, and "hima" meaning snow) are a wonder to anyone's imagination, conjuring up images of monks inhabiting lofty peaks and mountain climbers attempting the same. In 1973, about a year after his wife's death of cancer, Peter Matthiessen accepted his friend George Schaller's invitation to venture into this area on foot. It becomes an inner journey as much as an outer one, with frequent asides to describe Buddhist lore. The sighting of a snow leopard is never the journey's goal, only a metaphor for seeking something just as elusive: a glimpse of the connection between inner self and the Great Unknown.

I was deeply impressed by Matthiessen's full portrayals of their porters and especially of his sherpas. They are all realized in these pages as distinct people and personalities, not just the nameless help. Some of the hazards they encounter together can be anticipated - landslides obscuring the trail, snow and cold, inclement weather, reluctant porters - but others like the dogs are more surprising. There is an entire zoo of unfamiliar animals and birds that I was compelled to google: the tahr and the bharal, the hoopoe, the accipiter, and the claterynge of chough.

Fifty years ago Mathiesson was worried about animal extinction, shrinking forests and erosion. He made predictions about the wilderness disappearing, grousing at the intrusions of men. Google maps shows a highway has since been forged along valleys he hiked on foot, and the once-tiny village of Kusma is now thriving with tourist trade as it features the highest rope bridge in Nepal. Even remote Shey now receives frequent visitors. Much has been tamed and something was lost in the process. Only through Matthiessen can it still be recaptured. ( )
  Cecrow | Apr 29, 2021 |
This is Peter Matthiessen’s memoir documenting a trip he took through Tibet in the 1970’s with a zoologist named George Schaller.
Matthiessen’s writing is very descriptive and several beautiful passages stood out at me and as I read I was easily whisked away.

I think Matthiessen was brave to go off and travel mainly on foot like that through all kinds of trails and terrains, climbing steep hillsides and seeing so many distant places and people. That takes guts. He pretty much did all of this with just the clothes on his back. It’s amazing to think of doing something like that. While he is out on his trek he finds zen moments of introspect and clarity. I try to meditate daily myself and although for the most part I liked when he spoke of Yogis and meditation, I did find some of what he referenced about enlightenment to be odd and just plain gross at times. I wasn’t expecting to read some of the things he was saying would constitute enlightenment but I’ll leave it at that.

The trip is full of inspiration but also of moments of sadness as Matthiessen misses his family and thinks about his late ex-wife. There is also the aspect of danger just on the periphery daily. These people are in remote locations with no nearby doctors, they are climbing steep hillsides and mountains, they need to make sure they have enough food and supplies as well. On top of that the elevation gives headaches and the snow blinds their eyes as they travel. This is a mentally and physically exhausting venture.

Overall this is a beautifully written memoir about a man who goes on a trek to find himself and get a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard. I kept wondering, where is the snow leopard? Will they find it? Is it watching them? There’s a little twist at the end. Highly recommended.

https://bookwormnai.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/the-snow-leopard-by-peter-matthiess... ( )
  bookworm_naida | Sep 23, 2020 |
I had so much hope for this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Matthiessen's book, Shadow Country, and this book won two National Book Award's. But alas, this book did not hold my interest. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
DNF.

Damn. This book started out so well.

However, after only a few pages it seems to have turned into a version of Log from the Sea of Cortez, complete with philosophical and religious musings on the author's own life, his experimenting with different drugs, and his understanding of Buddhism - in none of which I have any interest at all.

The parts where Matthiessen describes the natural environment of his trek through Nepal are fascinating. Unfortunately, these are too few and too far between for my enjoyment.

I read 85 pages, then skipped to the end. The only sighting of the snow leopard is literally mentioned in the last 3 pages - and he doesn't go into much detail because he wasn't even there. He simply included a very short letter from George Schaller which briefly stated that he did manage to see one in the end (and after Matthiessen had returned home).

I get that there may be some beauty in Matthiessen's writing, his musings, and his dealing with grief after the loss of his wife, but all that esoteric babble just isn't for me, especially not when I expected the book to focus more on the expedition and the wildlife. ( )
1 abstimmen | BrokenTune | Jul 14, 2020 |
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That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular, and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm; the experiences that are called "visions," the whole so-called "spirit-world," death, all those things that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could have grasped them are atrophied. To say nothing of God.
—Rainer Maria Rilke
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For
Nakagawa Soen Roshi
Shimano Eido Roshi
Taizan Maezumi Roshi
GASSHO
in gratitude, affection, and respect
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In late September of 1973, I set out with GS on a journey to the Crystal Mountain, walking west under Annapurna and north along the Kali Gandaki River, then west and north again, around the Dhaulagiri peaks and across the Kanjiroba, two hundred and fifty miles or more to the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan Plateau.
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In another life - this isn't what I know, but how I feel - these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one's own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon - the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the upper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again into the sky.
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Wikipedia auf Englisch (4)

"In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest{u2014} to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty."--Publisher information.

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