There is a Mountain – Donovan

Australian Charts:
There is a Mountain peaked at no 22 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 11 October 1967.

The lyrics refer to a Buddhist saying originally formulated by Qingyuan Weixin, later translated by D.T. Suzuki in his Essays in Zen Buddhism, one of the first books to popularize Buddhism in Europe and the US. Qingyuan writes:
Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.

Donovan has explained that this song is about the process of change and is adapted from an old Zen proverb:
First there is a mountain
Then there is no mountain
Then there is

The song uses elements of nature but doesn’t have any real drug influences. It is done with a calypso beat.


This song is also on our Spotify playlist.

Bang a Gong song list

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