Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Aughts from Taizan-Ha Venerables

Sensei Morimasa Horiuchi's friend from Waseda University (standing far right) who introduced him to Tomimori Kyozan.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kiku Day Dream

It must have started with the whole story of recording Okuda being on my mind because we were setting up for a DVD recording session. I sat in the Zensabō room opposite of Okuda as usual. I was to play the role of a student learning a piece and ask questions to which Okuda was to explain.
Okuda chose to play the piece for me first. I listened intensively to the piece and I was drawn more and more into the sound. It felt like a physical draw towards the sound as well as I was totally encased in the sound.
Then it changed and I was only listening and drawn to Okuda's breathing. My own breathing adjusted to his and our breaths became one for a little while.
Then I felt an expansion and the breaths were no longer mine and Okuda's. It was the breathing of the whole universe - all living beings past, present and future - and all beings past, present and future were one....
Ahhhh... the shakuhachi. Make you dream far out...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Imperfection Premonition

"Then said a rich man, Speak to us of Giving.

And he answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?

And what is fear of need but need itself?

Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable? *

There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.

There are believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;

And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.

And is there aught you would withhold?

All you have shall some day be given;

Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."

The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life--while you , who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers--and you all are receivers--assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gift of wings;

For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt the generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to my Buddhist, Shinto and Taoist Brothers and Sisters

And the teacher said Speak to us of Teaching.

And the Prophet replied:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jinashi and Jiari Breathing Techniques

A jinashi natural bore usually has more resistance from nodes and more volume space to fill, a finished jiari bore is smooth and often narrower. As a result, a jinashi plays with a full abdominal air stream, a jiari can play if necessary with a focused throat and mouth air stream. A person with respiratory difficulties could play a jiari shakuhachi, but find it more challenging to fill and control the sounds of a natural wider bore jinashi.

Useful technique to expand the airstream volume cavity for playing extended lengths of large bore jinashi flutes:

jiari (narrow, hard, focused)

jinashi adjustment expansion

jinashi (open, full, flexible)

Cultivating Dedication and Transmission