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#1 2007-07-13 19:52:10

Nyogetsu
Kyu Dan Dai Shihan
From: NYC
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 259
Website

Buddhism and Music

I just wanted to let everyone know that Phil Nyokai James has Uploaded a new website called <http://sonicsangha.org>.
It is similar in format to this...
<www.shakuhachiforum.com>
...excellent website.

For those of you interested in this subject - particularly Shakuhachi and Zen/Buddhism - you should check it out !

Ronnie


The magic's in the music and the music's in me...
"Do you believe in Magic"- The Lovin' Spoonful

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#2 2007-07-20 14:43:11

Arjay
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2007-05-25
Posts: 11

Re: Buddhism and Music

Thanks for the link! I've bookmarked it now. It looks like a good resource for Buddhist music discussion.

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#3 2007-07-20 14:52:40

Horst Xenmeister
Shiham
From: Germany
Registered: 2007-05-26
Posts: 69
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

As in consideration of the relationship between Buddhismus and musik, which we must please, did Buddha hear music or not? Probably he did not hear a rap or Countrymusik, because she did not exist on those days. I may hear Gorge Torogood, but Buddha did not certainly hear on that. Possibly he likes sitar musik, because he is Indian or Bollywood.

Last edited by Horst Xenmeister (2007-07-20 14:54:38)


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#4 2007-07-22 03:23:10

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

Re: Buddhism and Music

Looks very interesting. But I see that this forum can have the following 2 perverse effects.

#1 It will be populated by practitioners who think they know what they are talking about based on the fact they have touched 1% of the subject discussed and you will have a lot of self proclaimed experts in Buddhism as well based on the fact they have read sutras in English but did not really studied the subjects at hand deeply since not many books or info is really available in English. I hope this will not be the situation but forums tend to usually go this way.

#2
You will have too high of a scholastic level and common users will not be able to grasp the discussion. Point #2 is less probable to happen since there are not many people who specialize and have proper schooling to discuss such specialized subjects and the ones that exist usually are Asian who would have to spend a lot of effort writing in English on the subject for folks who cannot grasp basic concepts of Buddhist history lineages sutras and the ceremony that go with them.


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

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#5 2007-07-22 03:43:10

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

But I see that this forum can have the following 2 perverse effects ...

... with the 3rd unspoken perverse effect being that the forum will lack your own expert participation?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." óRowdy Piper, They Live!

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#6 2007-07-22 08:37:22

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

Looks very interesting. But I see that this forum can have the following 2 perverse effects.

#1 It will be populated by practitioners who think they know what they are talking about based on the fact they have touched 1% of the subject discussed and you will have a lot of self proclaimed experts in Buddhism as well based on the fact they have read sutras in English but did not really studied the subjects at hand deeply since not many books or info is really available in English. I hope this will not be the situation but forums tend to usually go this way.

#2
You will have too high of a scholastic level and common users will not be able to grasp the discussion. Point #2 is less probable to happen since there are not many people who specialize and have proper schooling to discuss such specialized subjects and the ones that exist usually are Asian who would have to spend a lot of effort writing in English on the subject for folks who cannot grasp basic concepts of Buddhist history lineages sutras and the ceremony that go with them.

The intention of sonicsangha.org is not scholarly. I am no expert on Buddhism and certainly lack proper schooling -- I'm just a musician (and a music fan as well) who has been trying to follow the Buddha's advice.  I think the forum is more for people at this level than for scholars (#2), posers (#1), or what is most common, those who embody elements of both.

And, if we predict all the things that COULD go wrong, it's difficult to start much of anything.

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#7 2007-07-22 09:14:14

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

Re: Buddhism and Music

nyokai wrote:

Gishin wrote:

Looks very interesting. But I see that this forum can have the following 2 perverse effects.

#1 It will be populated by practitioners who think they know what they are talking about based on the fact they have touched 1% of the subject discussed and you will have a lot of self proclaimed experts in Buddhism as well based on the fact they have read sutras in English but did not really studied the subjects at hand deeply since not many books or info is really available in English. I hope this will not be the situation but forums tend to usually go this way.

#2
You will have too high of a scholastic level and common users will not be able to grasp the discussion. Point #2 is less probable to happen since there are not many people who specialize and have proper schooling to discuss such specialized subjects and the ones that exist usually are Asian who would have to spend a lot of effort writing in English on the subject for folks who cannot grasp basic concepts of Buddhist history lineages sutras and the ceremony that go with them.

The intention of sonicsangha.org is not scholarly. I am no expert on Buddhism and certainly lack proper schooling -- I'm just a musician (and a music fan as well) who has been trying to follow the Buddha's advice.  I think the forum is more for people at this level than for scholars (#2), posers (#1), or what is most common, those who embody elements of both.

And, if we predict all the things that COULD go wrong, it's difficult to start much of anything.

Indeed but I do find it really hard to visualize discussing Shomyo for example to people who are not trained in it or that do not have a strong scholastic background in Shingon or Tendai. All that could be actually done to help a bit would be to do a little show and tell article to give the public a general background but anything past that would need serious training and dedication from people who know about it and write/translate material that even after translation will only be useful to a few who would have been able to read it in Japanese anyway. Shomyo is studied by monks and has been like this for ages and was not shown to the public. Not because they cannot comprehend it just because they do not have the level of study to do it or even understand the meaning of what the monks are singing if the average Japanese cannot read and even understand basic sutras without the furigana do you think they can understand a chant done in Bonji(Japanese Bastardized Sanskrit pronunciation)? Anyway in Japan it is a dying form of chanting even in Shingon and Tendai we do not always hear it at temples only on special occasions and usually they will bring specialists if they will do a real public performance. Having a discussion lead by people who are not in this field will only results in a group Blind people leading another group who is deaf. Lots of energy and good intention but not much use will come out of it anyway. In Rinzai I was actually taught that being just too optimistic does not pay one needs to understand that the world does not really change then accept it and spend his energy to what really matters. This is why I will go in depth and give references when I write stuff but will not be giving free classes via this forum. Not because I do not want to but because I know it is a waste of my energy.


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

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#8 2007-07-22 11:41:04

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

..but will not be giving free classes via this forum. Not because I do not want to but because I know it is a waste of my energy.

Fortunately nobody is asking for free classes.

Gishin wrote:

Anyway in Japan it is a dying form of chanting even in Shingon and Tendai we do not always hear it at temples only on special occasions and usually they will bring specialists if they will do a real public performance. Having a discussion lead by people who are not in this field will only results in a group Blind people leading another group who is deaf. Lots of energy and good intention but not much use will come out of it anyway.

Like it or not, shomyo has long since moved out of the exclusive domain of monks and specialists and into the wider public sphere of musical performance. Just as shakuhachi is played by people like us, the same is true of shomyo. Though purists might shudder, I love the work of Sakurai Makiko. And Fujeida's spectacular "Night Chant," one of the most beautiful pieces of traditionally-influenced contemporary art music.  Richard Teitelbaum, Ishi Maki, and many many others have appropriated shomyo in interesting ways. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so, and many Tendai monks seem to be very supportive of Sakurai Makiko.

As for the whole issue of shakuhachi and shomyo, of course that's tricky. I think if you take certain shomyo chants out of the yo scale and into the in scale, you will hear shakuhachi-like melodies. I have started working on a hikyoku version of Nyo-rai bai I found in an article once (probably a very sacrilegious thing to do) adjusted to the more shakuhachi-like scale. Again, this is way outside the esoteric tradition of shomyo, but that doesn't bother me much.

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#9 2007-07-22 11:43:25

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin, do you think Buddhism is only for experts? I thought Buddha intentionally created it in a way that people of any mental ability and literacy level can find something to relate to. In fact that is the reality if you look around the Buddhist world. Most of the other sects you are talking about here are post-Buddha expressions by Buddhists, not the original Buddhism.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#10 2007-07-22 19:16:40

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

Re: Buddhism and Music

Tairaku wrote:

Gishin, do you think Buddhism is only for experts? I thought Buddha intentionally created it in a way that people of any mental ability and literacy level can find something to relate to. In fact that is the reality if you look around the Buddhist world. Most of the other sects you are talking about here are post-Buddha expressions by Buddhists, not the original Buddhism.

Not at all! But this is just like any subject. Some parts are reserved to people who practice and use it in their trade and not for the general public other than enjoyment of listening or seeing it. As Nyokai was saying that it long moved out the monkís circle my answer to this is that he is right and wrong at the same time. So far it as only been used by some performers to enhance some of their performances and show some level of connection with Buddhist organizations or some level of refinement on a couple of CDís. I have yet to see a book on Shomyo in English. I do not really thinks that this will happen also. You cannot only do Shomyo it has to come with the rituals and visualizations that go with it as well.


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

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#11 2007-07-22 19:42:21

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

Re: Buddhism and Music

nyokai wrote:

Gishin wrote:

..but will not be giving free classes via this forum. Not because I do not want to but because I know it is a waste of my energy.

Fortunately nobody is asking for free classes.

Gishin wrote:

Anyway in Japan it is a dying form of chanting even in Shingon and Tendai we do not always hear it at temples only on special occasions and usually they will bring specialists if they will do a real public performance. Having a discussion lead by people who are not in this field will only results in a group Blind people leading another group who is deaf. Lots of energy and good intention but not much use will come out of it anyway.

Like it or not, shomyo has long since moved out of the exclusive domain of monks and specialists and into the wider public sphere of musical performance. Just as shakuhachi is played by people like us, the same is true of shomyo. Though purists might shudder, I love the work of Sakurai Makiko. And Fujeida's spectacular "Night Chant," one of the most beautiful pieces of traditionally-influenced contemporary art music.  Richard Teitelbaum, Ishi Maki, and many many others have appropriated shomyo in interesting ways. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so, and many Tendai monks seem to be very supportive of Sakurai Makiko.

As for the whole issue of shakuhachi and shomyo, of course that's tricky. I think if you take certain shomyo chants out of the yo scale and into the in scale, you will hear shakuhachi-like melodies. I have started working on a hikyoku version of Nyo-rai bai I found in an article once (probably a very sacrilegious thing to do) adjusted to the more shakuhachi-like scale. Again, this is way outside the esoteric tradition of shomyo, but that doesn't bother me much.

Now when you say the following (I have started working on a hikyoku version of Nyo-rai bai I found in an article once (probably a very sacrilegious thing to do) adjusted to the more Shakuhachi-like scale. Again, this is way outside the esoteric tradition of Shomyo, but that doesn't bother me much.)

This means to me you do not care much about tradition and disregard the fact that to chant Shomyo there is more than chanting involved. Did you have any transmission in Shingon or Tendai or maybe Shugendo, Do you know what visualizations to do when singing them? To this I am sure I will be answered with no you donít and that is ok because you just sing them and you donít care about what other people think. Then fine this will become here in North America another degradation of some old art form by another over enthusiastic person who did not really know what he was playing with. Also you say you are not an expert of Buddhism but yet you allow yourself to play with Shomyo without proper training I find this pretty amusing. I am really sorry for coming down on you like a ton of bricks but this the only way I can word it out. I do believe that you want to learn all kinds of stuff and that you are very curious but you should not take Shomyo too lightly. Other than the article you have that treats of Nyorai Bai do you have scores of Shomyo and can you read them in Kanji or Bonji and do you have translations/understanding of what you are reading or singing. I would think that before making arrangements of Shomyo with Shakuhachi you would at least have this part of the training prior to doing this.

Also let me make the following comparison. Lets say I went to a church stepped on stage and started Chanting Mary had a little lamb in the middle of a ceremony? You think this is appropriate? The same goes with Shomyo when you take them out of context or use them in Buddhist ceremonies. You need to know what is appropriate to be sung and when and at what time in the ceremony etcÖ

I have been trained in Rinzai and Shingon but never would it cross my mind to practice or modify things in which I was not trained and did not get the proper documentation or even transmission before even presenting myself out there. Am I wrong?


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

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#12 2007-07-22 19:55:44

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

Some parts are reserved to people who practice and use it in their trade and not for the general public other than enjoyment of listening or seeing it.

"Use it in their trade" ... as in priest-craft?

Maintenance of 'secrets' often equates with maintenance of employment although almost always under the pretext of maintaining spiritual purity (so called) of their path.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." óRowdy Piper, They Live!

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#13 2007-07-22 20:13:08

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

Re: Buddhism and Music

Chris Moran wrote:

Gishin wrote:

Some parts are reserved to people who practice and use it in their trade and not for the general public other than enjoyment of listening or seeing it.

"Use it in their trade" ... as in priest-craft?

Maintenance of 'secrets' often equates with maintenance of employment although almost always under the pretext of maintaining spiritual purity (so called) of their path.

Sorry but you are tranlsating this one with your own twist. What I mean is that this is too deep for most lay people. Most lay people do not have the time and dedication to study enough to learn and practice those things and even if they did if they went out there to just sing it will be useless since those chants are meant to be used by priests. The learning of it would only be for personal reasons in a reasearch context per say.


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

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#14 2007-07-22 20:13:14

Horst Xenmeister
Shiham
From: Germany
Registered: 2007-05-26
Posts: 69
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

If we must speak over the Professionalismus of the different sects the Japanese or strange priests and the monks and be surprised if the usual person can understand Buddhismus, I can always speak about that sometimes. I am Horst. I am a Zen master. Therefore Horst Xenmeister. We on we should shakuhachi whether or does not blow us through specialists and to the Nembutsu or the Nam is Myoho Renge Kyo thinks, or whatever would like to think. Best way.

Last edited by Horst Xenmeister (2007-07-22 20:15:51)


i am horst

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#15 2007-07-22 20:45:00

TutuBanjo
Member
Registered: 2007-07-17
Posts: 4

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

Am I wrong?

Am I wrong?


Am I?


Wrong?


!


Tutu Banjo
Redneck Tranny Danseur
=+=+=+=+=
Little Rock has a Greyhound depot, too, y'all.

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#16 2007-07-22 22:25:20

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

Gishin wrote:

Lets say I went to a church stepped on stage and started Chanting Mary had a little lamb in the middle of a ceremony? You think this is appropriate?

Well I think that would be very cool, but I wasn't talking about performing inappropriate material in the middle of a Shingon ceremony. The more precise analogy would be doing instrumental takes on Gregorian chant, hymns, etc. in a secular concert setting. That's been going on for hundreds of years and doesn't seem to have hurt anyone. Cultural appropriation happens, because it results in interesting and sometimes spiritually nourishing art. That's no threat to an esoteric tradition unless some artist claims to be representing that tradition. Jazz didn't destroy Yoruba religions, Brazilian pop didn't destroy Candomble, etc. etc.
But this is obviously an argument between people in two different areas -- I listen as a long-time musician and Buddhist (Vipassana) practitioner, not as an esoteric Buddhist specialist. Further arguing of these points would really serve no purpose, so I'm done with this particular topic -- it gets a bit like a macho pissing match around here sometimes, and I'm sure I'm as guilty of participation as anyone else.

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#17 2007-07-22 22:51:11

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
Website

Re: Buddhism and Music

OK I am closing this topic because there are too many weird posts which are impossible to understand. sad


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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