World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat
You are not logged in.
When playing a shakuhachi the resonance is strongest inside of the instrument but a long flute played in a low tone can penatrate your body very strongly, I am sure when you play your subtle energies are being effected by the score.
I am sure the piece is quite important. However, coming at it from a more modern anatomical perspective, the great change in volume in the lungs is bound to stimulate the thymus (the main pump of the lymph system and the site of a Chakra in at least one system, I believe, although this Chakra is also identified with the heart in most) and promote a great deal of circulation within the glands more profoundly than sound penetration. In my practice, so far, I really think that this kind of exhaustive breathing promotes even more circulation in the lymph/immune system than even running or other aerobic exercises. I don't know too much about Chi Kung/Qi Gong, but in Tai Chi there is alot of raising and lowering the Chi, which corresponds primarily with the raising and lowering or contracting and relaxing the diaphram. Long notes seem to take this to the extreme, so much so that my sinuses will begin to drain after an hour or so. Those sonogram pictures would be cool to share if you have them digital.
To pull it back to Zen, it would seem that the flute brings great concentration to the breath, which is the most primary form of Zazen/Dyhana. In this sense, I see the connection between the two in the most fundemental and profound way.
I think you're right.
Chris Moran wrote:
Example: our very own Horst Xenmeister, Avatar of Cast-Bore Zen.
I suspect when the Lederhosensicherheitsdienst and Reinheitsgebotkontroll are not keeping a close watch on Horst,
he secretly plays a natural widebore instrument.
In Germany Bigger is Better. As with their Wurst. They like barbecue too.
Last edited by fouw (2008-08-13 11:32:51)
Kore wa hade sugi masu. Motto assari-shita no ga hoshii. Betsu no shurui ga ari-masuka? Sore de amoi-dasu hanashi ga aru. Itsumademo chodo ima.
Talk of enlightement is much wasted prattle. Very clever, us and the words that we wear. Wind is better than words. more breathing is best when clouds of talk prevail.
Last edited by Lorka (2008-08-13 12:12:17)
"Shut Up 'N Play Yer Shakuhachi", huh?
That's cool, but "clouds of talk". Man, that's harsh. It's also way too easy.
Galileo said "Philosophy is the language of mathematics". Using this tool he figured out the earth rotated around the sun, using this tool Einstein figured out why the sky is blue. The use of abstract logical analysis is the only trustworthy tool us pathetic humans have, that has been proven accurate, to understand the universe.
I have read alot of talk on this forum about "over intellectualising". I think it is definately worth keeping in mind.
If you have had the luck to meet someone who is spiritually advanced, then you understand that there must be a path. I have met a couple of people like that, and I'm interested in all the paths.
I understand what you say and agree. I think in the modern times, there is a lot of funny stuff around sold as spirituality, and the real depth and complexity of ancient systems is not always appreciated. Don't worry about that.
If you don't mind, I would like to offer a further thought. You said:
The use of abstract logical analysis is the only trustworthy tool us pathetic humans have, that has been proven accurate, to understand the universe.
I would like to challenge this assumption. I think direct experience is a more trustworthy tool. Logical analysis can aid us in understanding the relative world. but never the ultimate truth. Even analytical contemplation on emptiness cannot make us really understand. The best it can do actually it serve to cut the mind, actually sabotage the analytical process itself. In that respect it has a function. And also in the general function of bringing the intellectual mind/understanding into more harmony with how things are, and helping us to let go. But I believe the real understanding comes from directly experiencing truth.
We can understand the universe externally, to some extent (certainly never totally!) by examining it and analysing it. But what gives us insight into its nature?
If you have interest in reading about a more direct way of understanding phenomena, I highly recommend that you can study Goethe's scientific method. He was a holistic scientist. (He was also a writer in his spare time). He believed that the scientific way of understanding through analysis was not a true way of understanding phenomena. He believed that explaining what things are by explaining what is "behind" them is false. He wanted to understand/experience phenomena directly, from their own side.
This is actually going beyond the border of self and other. I believe the truth we come to from this is far more accurate in terms of being "true", than the self-other-duality-based analysis of logical investigation. That is not to say that the latter is not useful. It is useful and practical. Indeed even in contemplate it can serve a useful function, by uprooting certain beliefs we have, and undo certain graspings. In that respect, it is useful for undoing concepts.
If you have interest in Goethe's way of science, which if there ever would be a Buddhist science of external phenomena, is it, then I recommend this book by one of my teachers, Henri Bortoft:
http://www.amazon.com/Wholeness-Nature- … amp;sr=1-1
That one has no reviews so if you want to see reviews this out of print edition has some:
http://www.amazon.com/Wholeness-Nature- … amp;sr=8-2
Last edited by Justin (2008-08-13 23:37:35)
Chris Moran wrote:
... highly spirtually accomplished teachers ...
Example: our very own Horst Xenmeister, Avatar of Cast-Bore Zen.
Do not ask, what can do Zen for you, but which you can do for Zen. Importanting thing is not soundly instead feeling. Tone is that faith and believes is turned sound. I am refuge, which is I Xenmeister. But Zen my master is actual. This is the reason for casted form in quality of beter. After reading off Zen on Internet, you destroy computers. Read Zen in book burn book. Zen is inward. Do not put flute within your Körpers. Vary Zen Musik, end of history.
Last edited by Horst Xenmeister (2008-08-14 00:57:09)
I think you mistook my meaning, though I was being somewhat elusive. I am no enemy of philosophy. In fact, I have studied it formally for over 14 years. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is my favourite book (though not in the way that Nietzsche probably intended). I also keep a copy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the bathroom for "toilet reading". For beauty I look to Wordsworth and H.P. Lovecraft.
I think we can often fall prey to our own cleverness. It can become a kind of contest. I've seen it so many times. We marvel at our powers of deduction, and look with wonder upon the elaborate (and often flimsy) creations of the intellect. My comments in the last post were more directed at myself in a way. Talk of enlightenment is indeed much wasted prattle. Let us do away with the word. it sets up divisions, leads to spiritual hubris, and can be the seed of snobbish elitism. Don't worry about being clever, or evolved, or enlightened. It's mud in a snow-filled valley.
My mind is a pot of boiling water, and shakuhachi calms it down. That's the easiest way of putting it.
The reason shakuhachi works for me is because it tells me to shut up, which is good. It silences me and brings me back to myself.
You are kinda right though, I guess I am saying shut up and play, which is exactly what I will do.
Now, if only someone could translate what I wrote in Japanese. I found an old book yesterday that belonged to my boss, called learn japanse in the 3 weeks, and I found some very funny phrases in there from the 1960's that seemed to fit the odd mood I was trying to convey.
As always, Edosan said it best with his post about the sandwiches.
Beautiful Lorka reminds me of what an old man once said "Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him."
Bruce Lee says-"Do not confuse the pointing finger for the Moon". In this analogy logical analysis is the finger and the moon is enlightenment. Of course philosophy cannot bring the mind to budahood, but you have to start somewhere. Rigorous philosophical debate and lecture were the tools used by Buddha himself to help others on the first steps along the path. So, of course, ultimately we want "emptiness" and other realizations to become genuine, to generate their understanding from within, as part of us. But the baby steps start with the master. In this case the Diamond Sutra delivered by Buddha on Vulture Peak.
The problem I have with aesthetic philsophies that value feelings and direct perception over analysis is that our senses and feelings are not trustworthy investigative tools. A flourescent light bulb to our eyes appears to be always "on" however it is flickering at such a high rate our senses dont register the "off" period. When veiwing a beautiful landscape from the top of a mountain, many people draw a direct realisation that this is proof of the existance of God. When we try to understand with our feelings and senses mistakes build on top of mistakes and you end up lost.
The scientific method was used by the earliest scientists to predict natural pheonomena that is the foundation of our society. Agriculture, medicine, electrical engineering- the foundation and continued growth of these fields, that have brought us out of mud huts, painting our skin blue and eating our neighbors children and into the modern era use logical principles of prediction based on previously observed phenomena as their base.
Modern science is extremely good at predicting mechanical systems. Every theory has its limits though. Its limited domain over which it applies, and then also only as a description. Goethe's quibble was that the scientists seemed to believe that their ideas and theories were somehow more real than the phenomena themselves. They were understanding what was "behind" the phenomena, what "caused" it and so on. Actually western science is a continuous philosophical lineage back to Ancient Greece, and still seems to hold the view of the division between the realm of form and idea, the truer reality being the theories (ultimately mathematics perhaps), and experience being secondary. Thus quantity realms supreme over quality.
Goethe's was a science of qualities. And he was very rigorously scientific. It's not a philosophy. It's a way pf investigating. Of understanding. But it is a qualitative way, which takes direct experience as primary (rather than mind-fabricated explanations).
Even the analytical meditations in Buddhism can turn in on direct experience to be effective, don't you think? For example searching for any substantial "self". Searching step by step, here, here, here. It is when one experiences directly that the self is NOT in that place one looks, that a change can occur. If it were merely philosophy one could convince oneself of anything. Of course in Buddhism, logical analysis is highly valued as a way of investigating a teaching, and can lead to one level of faith, but then one must progress beyond that level of faith to "unshakable faith" which comes through direct experience.
It is true of course that sometimes what we believe from experience is untrue. We generally manipulate our experience. Goethe's scientific method was very good though, and aimed of course to perceive genuinely. He aimed to see holistically. And he had a method. Interestingly, he used visualisation, and in this process he even said it is like training a "new organ of perception", which perceives holistically. A simple post here on the forum is certainly not enough to explain this - for those interested Henri Bortoft explains very well. The result anyway is a very direct way of perceiving phenomena. This can break through the subject-object division. I was indeed quite surprised to see such a methodology, in the West, so in line with Buddhism.
What quantitative, analytical (analyse means cut, by the way) science has enabled us to do, is to control the physical world (somewhat), and also label it. I do not believe it has shown humanity meaning, nor been able to cut the root of suffering. Certainly, the arts have done far more in that respect. So it refreshes me to think of a science which actually can bring us closer to the truth of things. As Goethe says, to see things from their own side. (What else could be the corner-stone of compassion?)
Why I mention this is because it is a most marvelous bridge between Western culture/science, and Buddhism, which can at times be confusing, as a devotional, cultural religion. Highly effective but can at times throw our modern minds.
Last edited by Justin (2008-08-14 13:09:03)
Thank you all for this wonderful thread.
i wish I could contribute more.
I would like to offer this thought nugget though:
Could there be a synthesis between direct experience and analytical thought?
Could there be a synthesis between direct experience and analytical thought?
I might suggest that they are two different modes. Perhaps direct experience allows us to "know", in the sense of the word from it's root "gnosis", originally back to "jnana", meaning true, direct, non-conceptual knowledge/awareness. Whereas analytical thought allows us think - to create a conceptual MODEL of phenomena, and then come to an understanding of the model. That latter is very useful in that, if our model is an appropriate approximation to the phenomena for our uses, it can allow prediction. But the model itself is not the phenomenon. Therefore I think these two modes can never substitute one another.
As these two things are so different, perhaps there is no need to bring them to synthesis? Often analytical thought is taken as a substitute for direct experience. As we have seen, from the scientific view it may even be seen as superior and more real. "Objective". Direct experience is subjective. But we are subjects after all. Indeed Goethe's approach, to speak of that again, was a subjective one. He would understand phenomena from their own side, that is to say, subjectively, but in that case THEY are the subject.
And although analytical thought can never substitute direct experience, it is a genuinely useful tool. Perhaps the question may then be how to create a healthy balance, in oneself. How can we learn to use analytical thought skillfully, while understanding what it really is, and not living in the world of analytical thought as if it were the real world. It is easy to get lost in thought, to believe that thoughts are real, and to end up living ones life in this mind-created model of reality. Most of our troubles, I believe, come from holding on to ideas. And taking them personally. They become bound up with our identity.
How can we free them? Perhaps seeing into their nature is an important step. (Seeing into the nature of though).
On the other hand, perhaps direct experience can inform thought. For example, the Buddha became enlightened, and then he started teaching. But, at first he seemed to think it would be impossible. "How can I express this?" Seeing as life is actually not conceptual, it is impossible to fit it into concepts. However, as someone said above, it is possible to point to the moon.
So I think direct experience can inform thought. Someone can try to convey their experience by using a model. Surely then, each person having the same experience will then create different models. Thus we have people waking up to "truth" or whatever you might call it, and expressing it in all these different ways, as Allah and his Will, or whatever you might have. Who knows, perhaps the honkyoku are such expressions. Indeed, perhaps the highest art (certain poetry, music, paintings, literature etc.) is this synthesis you are suggesting?
Last edited by Justin (2008-08-14 23:29:17)
Thank you for that wonderful essay.
I think that perhaps the highest arts, as an original expression, might be along those lines.
But that the copying them might fall short.
I also think that taking the family for ice cream on a hot day might also be it.
I was going to write some stuff but Tairaku has beat me to it
To begin with the title of the Thread is pretty futile. Shakuhachi and Enlightenment why not fisting and Enlightenment? Then from that point all that was written was armchair philosophy not equating to much more than a roasted turkey or horse crap.
Some people have expressed great ideas and opinions but those were very remote from the original title of the thread. So this leads to say why the heck did I not write anything when the thread started?
Simply because this was one of the most pointless question I have seen. Like humm okay to have enlightenment with Shakuhachi here is the recipe. Give me a freaking break bunch of people in this thread started giving out advice and recipe on it. Is this a joke? I do hop so!
You can talk about Zen history, Sutras, The masters. BUT YOU CANNOT TALK ABOUT ZEN OR ENLIGHTENMENT ITSELF BY DOING SO YOU LOWER YOURSELF TO THE RANK OF THE COMMON FOOL.
Gee, I guess that puts paid to that.
all that was written was armchair philosophy not equating to much more than a roasted turkey or horse crap.
Man, that turkey looks Exquis!!!
My comment did not mean "turkey". It is a duck.
It meant, 'You better duck because I think Gishin be f'in to whack you upside the head with his Quebecois Zen stick."
Guess I was right.
Why not fisting and enlightenment? It seems if such a thing were possible, I just received it!
But if this question was asked with any sincerity at all, I would have to reply that fisting has no historical record of doing so. I started this thread because I read of the historical existance of a group of Japanese Buddhist monks who reportedly believed that playing shakuhachi was a path to enlightenment. I was hoping someone on this board could tell me if these monks existed and if so, what they based their belief on, and details on this practice.
As this thread progressed I(and I may not be alone in this) felt interesting tangents to the main theme were touched on, that were benificial for anyones understanding. Thanks Justin, for tempering my analyical rantings with Goethe-esque insight and compassion.
By the way- I started this thread and guess what? I AM A FOOL! A foolish little beginner swimming in shark infested waters, asking foolish little beginner questions in a foolish attempt to understand.
As for full enlightenment, I am not sure such a thing exists. I do know I can be a better person, by asking people whom I admire "How do I get there?". Extend your hand in assistance or knock the side of my head by with your high level omnipotence, no difference, thanks for your interest.
The beginners mind- the fools mind, grounded with no assumptions, no agenda- just foolish questions.