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Elvis Presley’s The Prophet. Henry David Thoreau’s Manual of Buddhism. WALDEN to GRACELAND 200 Years of the Eastern Wisdom Tradition in Western Thought A Chapter on Henry David Thoreau Kent Bicknell ... the Sant Bani School. S..P..A..C..E.
Henry David Thoreau’s
Manual of Buddhism
WALDEN to GRACELAND
200 Years of the Eastern Wisdom Tradition
in Western Thought
A Chapter on Henry David Thoreau
Kent Bicknell ... the Sant Bani School
so the narrative picked up in “Hooksett, a week afterward...”
When the publisher made Henry take back the unsold copies, he quipped,“I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which I wrote myself.”
As the volumes sat around in Henry’s garret, he sometimes made textual corrections in pencil
Of particular concern were some missing lines on p. 396
He asked for space here
Three lines were dropped
The text made no sense… so in the occasional volume Henry added the missing lines.
The lines Henry added in pencil convey the essence of his World View:
If we can be still and allow thoughts to withdraw beyond the play of outer senses, we may find “the field of a wholly new life…”
J. R. Lowell
As an adolescent he had gone through long periods in which “I was daily intoxicated, and yet no man could call me intemperate.”
Neither people nor books helped him understand “an indescribable, infinite, all-absorbing, divine, heavenly pleasure, a sense of elevation and expansion” that he had “nought to do with…”
“I perceive that I am dealt with by superior powers. This is a pleasure, a joy, an existence which I have not procured myself. I speak as a witness on the stand, and tell what I have perceived. The morning and the evening were sweet to me, and I led a life aloof from the society of men.”
Journal, July 16, 1851
And his voracious reading of Eastern texts was reflected in his writing, as here in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
(to be continued...)
[email protected] The Sant Bani School www.santbani.org
See also Leigh Eric Schmidt’s Restless Souls: the Making of American Spirituality from Emerson to Oprah (2005)
Schmidt offers an in-depth history of the search for the spiritual in American culture -- and the positive social movements that have resulted.
It is about opening doors,
Not closing them…
© Kent Bicknell 2006