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#26 2008-05-27 09:40:29

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
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Re: Please put in your requests

Gishin wrote:

Lance wrote:

If that's not enough to contemplate, maybe a little review on "Zen" in general, in that 'Zen Buddism' is apparently not really Buddism, and not religious practice, but simply discovering the essence of all things though your own methods leading to enlightenment, not through any dogma or specific ritual.

I wil open this one in the morning as a separate thread since this would be a great discussion for all of us to have.

I'd enjoy this thread, although I'll do my best no to be too argumentative as in my honest opinion Zen, Chan, Tien, and similar traditions are certainly religions within the Mahayana tradition, which is decidely not simply interested with only individual enlightenment but the end of suffering for all sentient beings.  To be concerned with your own enlightenment mainly is more of a Theravedan POV, yet also religious in my opinion, although it is a common perspective of many Western Zen Practicioners.

I feel the whole arts and Soto thing is more a modern thing that was started in modern times and espeicially in North-America. Now for it being more connected with Soto than Rinzai I did not see much difference between both. Anyway its all compatible. The point being that Zazen is all good but I feel that one should be able to actualize himself in a form of Physical practice, arts etc... outside of just freaking Zazen and Koan Sutras etc... So this is why my main thing is Shakuhachi.

I think you are correct on this.  When I tried to find some info it seems that Daido Loori has written the most about it, at least in English.  I've been reviewing Dogen recently, and he seems to be of the "practice Zazen like your head is on fire" school of thought, to the exclusion of other practices.

I too believe that physical practice is important, although there are many folks out there that would differ in opinion.  Bodhidharma taught exercises, probably similar to the Yoga of his Indian roots.  Martial arts has been a part of Chan since way back.  You can't sit Zazen without some physical practice to maintain a certain fitness level.

Caligraphy has always been important too, although it did spring from the Sutra transcription that Bodhidharma seemed to rebel against, at least in a small way.  He thought monks were wasting away as they sat and wrote all day.  Aside from the Fuke sect, I have never found much that stressed the importance of music, hence my interest for some elucidation on this subject.

Perhaps we could also start a thread on stories of Fuke/Puhua.  He is counted as the founder of the Fuke sect, famous for the Shakuhachi (as I look through the forum I see that there are other sects as well, but this is the one I am most familiar with, so sorry for my niavete on this subject).  Fuke did not play the flute himself but is famous for ringing a bell to call people to enlightenment.  We still invite the bell at my Sangha during services.  Maybe we could have a thread describing the different sects too for the novices among us, mainly me.  If these subjects don't have enough to do with Shakuhachi, I apologize.

2.9 but you could only provide a 1.4

I've heard that what he lacked in size he made up for in enthusiasm.  I just goes to prove the old adage, it's not the size of the flute but how well you blow.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#27 2008-05-27 10:57:40

madoherty
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Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 366

Re: Please put in your requests

Gishin wrote:

Humm there is blurbs here and there but no final or decisive writings like you would find on seated meditation or the Zen mode of thinking etc..

As I had mentioned before when comparing the Komuso to the Yamabushi that were also wiped out at the same time. The Yamabushi almost lost no scriptures etc but Komuso would have lost everything? I strongly feel that there was nothing much that existed other than the Music itself and some historical records as to who what when where. Anyawy lately I have started to investigate Taoism since I feel that the music itslef could have been greatly influenced by Taoism, not in its sounds but in the esthetic.

Gishin,

If you need help with your new Zen/Shakuhachi treatise let me know!

Very insightful, the potential connection with Taoism.  It has been a while since I have dabbled in Taoist philosophy, but from the onset of my own inquiry- seems as though there is a direct relationship in terms of nature, yin-yang (silence-sound), and other key Taoist terms.  Hmmmm...

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#28 2008-05-27 12:30:54

Jordan
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From: Vancouver
Registered: 2006-12-08
Posts: 24
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Re: Please put in your requests

Dose anyone here have acces to a translated copy of the "Shoichi Kakushi Nempu" That might have some more insite on Kakushin.

Take care,
Jordan


Be Well and Happy!
Gassho!

Jordan

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#29 2008-05-27 14:17:47

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: Please put in your requests

Seth wrote:

And if you are not sure where you stand you might want to ask yourself:  Would you still play shakuhachi if you sounded just plain awful nearly every time you picked it up?  Would you still play shakuhachi if no one ever ever wanted to hear you play?

I don't care if I perform or not but wouldn't play if I consistently sounded awful. I'd think that part of the spiritual practice is getting some kind of good sounds. Just the focus and approach to getting good sounds is spiritual. If a spiritually minded player after years of practice wasn't getting good sounds I'd tend to think that he isn't using the shakuhachi correctly as a spiritual tool.   

Seth wrote:

In my experience there is a real tension between these two motivations behind playing or blowing shakuhachi.

If you are obsessed with getting your pitch perfect you need to get a pitch meter and to practice your pitch over and over and you need to get, again, obsessed with achieving a particular goal.  This passion and drive for achieving a particular goal, is, in my opinion, very un-spiritual and very un-meditative.

True, but you'll notice that most of the very good players of any instrument are very well spiritually developed. Mindless goal-oriented drilling creates mechanical sounding playing. Conscious drilling creates beautiful sounds.

Seth wrote:

It’s simply a sort of highly refined craving and ambition.   And is that not the complete opposite of what spiritual development is supposed to encourage?

I don't know zen all that well, but I'd guess that the goal is to not let the ego get in the way too much. In this respect I guess you could say that wanting to become a good player is non-spiritual, but as I mentioned before, most players of any instrument whose only motivation is to play real good aren't going to become good players. They'll either give up out of frustration or become very mechanical uninspired players. Even if spiritual practice isn't a goal, good players enjoy the path of getting there with all the dips, gullies, and hurdles along the way. They become spiritually developed in the process even if that's not why they picked the instrument up.     

Seth wrote:

Would it not make the Buddha gently shake his head with sad pity watching all of these spiritual minded shakuhachi players begin to slowly burn with the desire of becoming great performers?

I know I'm getting a bit away from your point with the following thought, but great players aren't always great performers. There's a whole lot more involved with being a great performer than being a good player, you have to have good stage presence and get along well with others, all of that stuff requires a lot of character building.     

Seth wrote:

But here is the paradox in all of the above:  All that non-spiritual craving and ambition can ultimately produce a most sublime spiritual experience for… the audience!

I really doubt that a performance from a player who has little spiritual development is going to come off as a spiritual experience. Even if the performer hasn't went to a spiritual teacher, I'd think the only way a performance will be a spiritual experience for the audience is if the performer has a good amount of spirituality learned from the instrument.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#30 2008-05-28 13:28:54

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Please put in your requests

In this respect I guess you could say that wanting to become a good player is non-spiritual, but as I mentioned before, most players of any instrument whose only motivation is to play real good aren't going to become good players.

I'd make the argument that wanting to become a good player springs from the realization that you aren't such a good player.  I only mention that from experience since I just started playing.  It also encourages the realization that you are not "gifted" and will have to take the time to get better.  These can be powerful blows to the ego, in my opinion.  It would seem that great players arise less out of a desire to be a great player and mroe out of a realization that there is always more to learn, always more practice to do.  In my opinion the ego would get in the way of becoming a great player.  Of course, there can be other ways to look at it.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#31 2008-05-28 13:51:56

Seth
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From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Please put in your requests

I find the notion that it takes a spiritually developed person to be a good performer of an instrument to be tenuous at best.  Actually most accomplished performers I know - in nearly all of the performing arts - tend to be quite narcissistic and distinctly undeveloped spiritually.

I think shakuhachi is perhaps the only exception to this generalization in that a narcissit looking for glory would have to be out of his skull to pick up the shakuhachi in pursuit of fame and fortune.

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#32 2008-05-28 13:57:02

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
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Re: Please put in your requests

True, but you'll notice that most of the very good players of any instrument are very well spiritually developed.

Actually most accomplished performers I know - in nearly all of the performing arts - tend to be quite narcissistic and distinctly undeveloped spiritually.

I actually find both these statements to be profound generalisations that leave little room for the reality of individuals and depend a great deal on one person's opinion of another person, which is also tenuous at best.  Aside from that, good points. tongue

Last edited by lowonthetotem (2008-05-28 13:57:39)


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#33 2008-05-28 17:44:06

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Please put in your requests

Seth wrote:

I find the notion that it takes a spiritually developed person to be a good performer of an instrument to be tenuous at best.  Actually most accomplished performers I know - in nearly all of the performing arts - tend to be quite narcissistic and distinctly undeveloped spiritually.
.

Hey back off!!!!!! wink No we're not! Oh yeah maybe we are. The reality is some people are and some people are not.

And by singling out the "performing arts" do you mean to imply that painters and writers for example are not narcissistic. In many cases they are even more narcissistic because they don't have to interact with the public nearly as much as performing artists.

Seth wrote:

I think shakuhachi is perhaps the only exception to this generalization in that a narcissit looking for glory would have to be out of his skull to pick up the shakuhachi in pursuit of fame and fortune.

If they're looking for fame and fortune yes it's a ridiculous pursuit. In fact many people (especially Japanese) have asked me why I would bother with shakuhachi when I'm already famous on the bass guitar. As if fame is the only reason to play music.

But to imply shakuhachi players are not narcissists is erroneous. I personally know a number of (respected) shakuhachi players who think they are the best. In addition they think no one else is good. And their ryu is the only good one. And they'll tell you this stuff and not realize how silly they look.

This does not happen in rock music. You don't meet people who think their band is the best in history and that rockablilly or psychedelic or what have you is the ONLY valid form of rock music.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#34 2008-05-29 00:33:35

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Please put in your requests

Gishin wrote:

Just wanted to ask what members would like to talk about in the Buddhist section. This section has been quiet for a while so if you have any subjects you would like me to write stuff on please don’t be shy and make your request. Sometimes well… most of times it is a bit hard for me to even think of a subject since I feel that I might sound as if I am speaking only specialized Buddhist mumbo Jumbo. I will be away from home and a PC until Monday night hopefully there will be some requests for me to write some stuff.

Ok so just enough time to take a shower kiss the wife and head out to the airport for my early flight to Cleveland for the concerts with Chikuzen. This will be my first time to perform on stage apart from when I used to be a male stripper wink well its just that it feels a bit strange that this time the people will be there for the musical quality of the chants with Shakuhachi which is much different than singing in temples where people are not there for the musical part of the chants.

Ok have a nice weekend everyone!

Hi Gishin
I have some interest in the Buddhist connection with shakuhachi. From what I understand about Buddhism, the essence of what Buddha was up to, and the core of the tradition as it continued as a living spiritual path, was for helping people "wake up". Wake up to "truth", or "ultimate truth" or dharmakaya or whatever it might be labeled as. And to do that permanently. So at first do they call it in Japanese satori? Then continuing on the path until that direct realisation is never absent.

Then my question is, do you know of anyone or any groups of people actually engaging in this, within the context of shakuhachi, either in Japan or elsewhere? I have heard of people who use words about this in the context of shakuhachi. But I mean awakened teachers/people actively incorporating the shakuhachi in a way to help this path, in a real and fruitful way. I would be interested to hear about it.

Thanks
Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

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#35 2008-05-29 09:50:27

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Please put in your requests

Hi Justin.

In answer to your question I did not find any groups or individual that seem to be directly using Shakuhachi as a tool for awakening or promotion of Buddhism. There is the Komuso groups which are mostly a bunch of Oyaji that regroup a couple of time each year to play and then go drink Shochu. But since fuke-Shu was linked with Rinzai I get the fell that it has more of the "I DONT GIVE A SHIT" type of attitude in comparison to love , kindness , charity etc..

In my point of view Rinzai Zen in Japan mostly had that type of attitude and Soto was more on the soft side. It took the Obaku school to basically reeducate and resoften later some factions of the Rinzai school when the Chinese masters came to Japan.

Now back to the existence of group or individual. I would say that it is not becuase that they directly do not advertise that there is not some teacher out there using Shakuhachi in the way you describe. For example Prem seems to have found one of those and we in Montreal used to have Masumoto Sensei. I do feel that those type of old guys that would be using Shakuhachi as a way to spread spiritual awakeness are usually non performers with or without a license that do not teach publicly BUT as a principle will not refuse to teach if some freak made the effort to come all the way to his place.

By the way did I ever meet you at Kurahashi Sensei's house?


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#36 2008-05-29 10:22:29

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Please put in your requests

Hi Gishin
I did study with Kurahashi-sensei so that is quite possible. Though I don't remember meeting a western monk there - are you a monk?

I don't know about Prem's teacher or Masumoto-sensei. Are they "waking people up" with shakuhachi? Can you tell more about it?
Did you stay in monasteries here in Japan then? Maybe in Kyoto if you were with Kurahashi-sensei? I read some of an autobiography of a Zen lady teacher who made a Soto Zen monastery up in the North of England, and then in the U.S. - can't remember her name but maybe you know of her? In her book, her teacher in Japan told her Zen is dead here. Although he seemed to be awake. But as if he was saying Zen isn't happening here any more (thus wanting her to make it happen abroad). Was that your experience? Is is common for the Zen students here in Japan to be waking up to their true natures? Then treading the path to full awakenedness? (Not sure of the grammar there!) I'd love to hear about that, and places too if it's happening.
I really love Shunryu Suzuki. I heard that he was the real deal, and apparently his students were well led.

Best wishes
Justin

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#37 2008-05-29 11:25:54

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Please put in your requests

I don't want to promote a different web site, but it was actually members of a forum called Esangha that pointed me to this forum.  I know a couple of members there are engaged in a practice to awaken and play Shakuhachi too.  You may want to visit there and see what you find.  Be prepared for some ribbing, as many of the members are of the "creative pursuits are egotistic" school of thought.  I you stay in the Zen forums, though, it should be minimal.

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#38 2008-05-29 11:29:23

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 402
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Re: Please put in your requests

IF ONE PLAYS SHAKUHACHI LONG ENOUGH OR IF ONE IS OPEN TO THE FACT, THEN YOU'LL REALIZE THAT YOU ARE BASICALLY PUTTING YOUR LIFE ENERGY (soul/spirit) INTO A AUDIBLE FORM. THIS IS A SPIRITUAL ACT, A SPIRITUAL ENDEAVOR.  It doesn't mean you type without hitting the caps key though. Shakuhachi teachers perform various functions which include those things taught in the 'objective' realm, i.e. symbols, songs, techniques, history,etc. and they should demand that you do what it takes to play the 'music'. This may be enough to wake up some people depending on the demands of the music. Some things are 'easy" to do and some not. If whatever you're asked to do is difficult for you, then you have to use yourself more; tap into your life energy and come up with something that works. Some teachers are motivators who may turn your attention towards your inner self until you can do it by yourself. Looking outside yourself for something that is inside yourself is a common mistake.

Playing shakuhachi is 'more or less' a spiritual activity. How much more or less depends on how you view it as one consciously and the intentions and actions that follow. It doesn't matter if you are Buddhist or not except in your mind. Your soul and spirit have no name tag.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#39 2008-05-29 11:43:23

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Please put in your requests

In other words:

Quit fiddling around looking for the Golden Fleece.

You already possess it.

Use it.


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#40 2008-05-29 11:59:24

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Please put in your requests

lowonthetotem wrote:

I don't want to promote a different web site, but it was actually members of a forum called Esangha that pointed me to this forum.  I know a couple of members there are engaged in a practice to awaken and play Shakuhachi too.  You may want to visit there and see what you find.  Be prepared for some ribbing, as many of the members are of the "creative pursuits are egotistic" school of thought.  I you stay in the Zen forums, though, it should be minimal.

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/

Not exactly the place I would recommend. its actually runned by despots and religious freaks.

In reality if you want info on Buddhism its easy just use Wikipedia then the website of the headquarters of each school or Dojo that you want to look into. Pretty much all I have seen on that website was empty talk about religious rules and precepts and idiots asking how to go to paridise and attain nirvana etc...

There is still idiots there that are all bent over the fact that Japanese clergy use the term monk but most of them are married so the even have a name convention on that site that we need to use priest for Japanese lineage etc and all kind of other stuff.

Anyway back to the topic.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#41 2008-05-29 14:43:56

lowonthetotem
Member
From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Please put in your requests

Not exactly the place I would recommend. its actually runned by despots and religious freaks.

In reality if you want info on Buddhism its easy just use Wikipedia then the website of the headquarters of each school or Dojo that you want to look into. Pretty much all I have seen on that website was empty talk about religious rules and precepts and idiots asking how to go to paridise and attain nirvana etc...

Hahahahaha

It is most of the moderators and administrators are Tibetan Buddhists and can be rather fundemental.  However, it does provide a way to communicate with several monks and clergy from around the world.  You would probably consider me one of the "religious types."  I DO try my best to follow my precepts, as it seems rather hypocritical to ordaine and then not to.  Still, that board can be a good place for information.  You just need to discriminate among the sources.  There is a general influx of folks new to Buddhism, and they do have some "interesting" ideas about it and ask some odd questions.  However, there are a couple translators there that often post some pieces that are unavailable in English elsewhere, for those of us who do not speak Chinese or Japanese.  The library section is also pretty good.  And, as I said, there are even a few Shakuhachi enthusiasts.  Just as with the argument about performers, I'd hate to generalize everyone on that board.

I know what you mean about despotism, though.  I have noticed a general hazing of Soto clergy.  Still, as in all things, there are some nuggets of discovery to be had.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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