“With whom can I discuss this philosophy?

I’ll be silent, since so few can follow my tune”

—Ch’i-chi (864-937), translated by Burton Watson, The Clouds Should Know Me by Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China.

Nagara no Haru

“Nagara no Haru” is a rehearsal recording featuring Kurahashi Ayako-sensei on shamisen and vocals.

Azuma no Kyoku

“Azuma no Kyoku” is a traditional honkyoku piece in the gikyoku style which accentuates a steady rhythmic structure (reminiscent of Chinese music).

This is the final posting of “Kyoto Meditations.”  I would like to thank everyone who offered comments during the past year.  It has been gratifying to know that these recordings reached so many listeners in all parts of the world.


Meditation #32

June 27, 2010

Dharma: What is the cause of the world?

Yudhisthira: Love.

Dharma: What is your opposite?

Yudhisthira: Myself.

Dharma: What is madness?

Yudhisthira: A forgotten way.

Dharma: And revolt … why do men revolt?

Yudhisthira: To find beauty … either in life or in death.

Dharma: And what for each of us is inevitable?

Yudhisthira: Happiness.

From The Mahabharata, adapted and written by Jean-Claude Carrière, film adaptation by Peter Brook, 1990.

A shakuhachi improvisation.   Meditation #32

Yugure no Kyoku

June 20, 2010

“Everything that is authentic is sacred”—Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double.

Yugure no Kyoku

Meditation #31

June 13, 2010

“Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?”—Yogi Berra.

A shakuhachi improvisation.   Meditation #31

Meditation #30

June 6, 2010

“You can’t fix it [corporate monstrosity].  You can’t make it go away.
I don’t know what you’re going to do about it,
But I know what I’m going to do about it.  I’m just
going to walk away from it.  Maybe
A small part of it will die if I’m not around
feeding it anymore”
—Lew Welch, “Chicago Poem.”
A shakuhachi improvisation.   Meditation #30


May 30, 2010

“Suzuki Roshi said, ‘If I die, it’s all right.  If I should live, it’s all right. Sun-face Buddha, Moon-face Buddha.’  Why do I always fall for that old line?”—Philip Whalen, “Walking beside the Kamogawa, Remembering Nasen and Fudo and Gary’s Poem.”


A piece in the nezasaha tradition.

Meditation #29

May 23, 2010

“Whose flute is that in the painted tower
blowing and pausing in harmony with the wind
its sound stops the clouds traveling across the sky
its notes reach my curtain with the winter moon
inspired like the tunes of Huan Yi
reminiscent of Ma Jung’s old ode
but where is the person when the song is done
and the notes continue to float in the air”
—Chao Ku (815-856), Poems of the Masters: China’s Classic Anthology of T’ang and Sung Dynasty Verse, translated by Red Pine.
A shakuhachi improvisation.    Meditation #29

Meditation #28

May 16, 2010

“When they [classical musicians] think of improvisation they think of connecting one written thing to another written thing.  When I think of improvisation I think of going from zero to zero or to wherever it goes but I’m not connecting one thing to another . . .”—Keith Jarrett, The Art of Improvisation.

A shakuhachi improvisation.   Meditation #28


May 9, 2010

“Like bamboo shadows on the steps, they can’t be swept away.  Like the moon moving across the water, it doesn’t leave a trace”—Pao-t’ung, qtd. in The Heart Sutra, translated and commentary by Red Pine.


The nezasaha school from Japan’s northern Tohoku region emphasizes a pulsating breathing technique.

Minyo Medley #2

May 2, 2010

“Some people feel the rain.  Others just get wet”—Bob Dylan.

Minyo Medley #2

A selection of Japanese folksongs:

“Soran Bushi” (Hokkaido)

“Dompan Bushi” (Akita)

“Hanagasa Odori” (Yamagata)

“Kokiriko Bushi” (Toyama)

“Kushimoto Bushi” (Wakayama)