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#1 2008-08-22 05:36:09

Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 23

emptiness experience?

Thought I would start a Post about a subject that intrigues me, has anybody here had any experiences playing the shakuhachi that they could call emptiness? I have been taught that shakuhachi is a tool for spiritual practice, and I know Yokoyama-san says the shakuhachi is the sound of emptiness, so I would like to know of player's experiences in coming close to sunyata. Don't be shy now!



#2 2008-08-22 10:20:26

From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305

Re: emptiness experience?

Oh Frankenflute, you asked a very hard question people don't want to get pigeon holed into smile  I've never considered myself getting closer to sunyata per say, but on occasion in concerts and even when practicing, I totally get losted in the piece if it's a piece I can play smoothly from memory. Time just seems to stand still, yet still everything is flowing. Before you know it you have apparently finished the piece. I have to revert to a recording, if I took one, just to see where my mistakes were becasue I really have no recollection. I think suspending judgement and just letting nature take it's course, where you're basically running on auto pilot, is a key point. Hence, for me atleast, this feeling only comes from a piece that I've played many, many times and in different settings, so then the piece really feels like its a part of me and a part of the environment I happen to be in at the time. It seems to happen for me more when I'm on stage, I think it has to do with the hightened state of alertness/nervousness you get from performing in from of people and working with their energy, not letting it consume your nerves. At home practicing, at times I get wrapped up in "getting it right" too much to have this kind of emptiness feeling (but that is also a necessary part of the process). I think a lot of things happen though when you truly get to know a song. I think this emptiness experience is probably alss felt when imrovisating. Any thoughts Brian? I just haven't done enough improv to feel comfortable with it yet, but I'm sure there are some people out there who can really get in there zone this way. A lot of Watazumi-do's songs were deep improvisations stemming from many hours of traditional training.



#3 2008-08-22 10:55:56

From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: emptiness experience?

Josh wrote:

I totally get losted in the piece if it's a piece I can play smoothly from memory. Time just seems to stand still, yet still everything is flowing.

Beautiful, Josh, the difference between playing and invoking. smile
When you 'hear' the note, the flute disappears......

The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho



#4 2008-08-22 11:11:43

From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529

Re: emptiness experience?

When you 'hear' the note, the flute disappears......

Setting performing aside, when I blow buki and the note appears with the very very first bit of air escaping my lips I get lost sometimes in the note.  It only requires the slightest movement of air and can be maintained for quite a while.  It is an interesting moment when I stop worrying about my head angle, my embochure, and the steadiness of my breath.  The sound doesn't really come from the flute and it doesn't come from my breath.  It is just there filling the room and my ears and my head.  The ease of it all is quite calming.  Of course the next note is usually a squeaker or a croaker or a breathy quiet.  Then some slight frustration arises, and I get distracted.  Sometimes though it will go on for dozens of breaths.  It is quite an experience for a time then.  The interior monologue drops away for the most part and it is just the sound of the flute in my mind.

"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."



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