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

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)

“Hifumi Hachi Kaeshi”

March 14, 2010

“Poetry is where you find it, not where it says it’s at”—Ed Dorn.

Hifumi Hachi Kaeshi

“One-Two-Three, Return the Bowl”—a literal translation of the title, “Hifumi Hachi Kaeshi”—is a traditional piece played by mendicant komuso monks while on pilgrimage.
N.B. I will be in California for the next two weeks.  I will resume podcasts on April 4, 2010.  Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement.

Meditation #22

February 14, 2010

“Leaves fall and return to the roots.  When they appear again, they are silent”—Hui-Neng, the sixth Zen partiarch after Bodhidharma, qtd. in The Essential Teachings fo Zen Master Hakuin, trans. Norman Waddell.
A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditation #22

Meditation #21

February 7, 2010

“…What I came to say was,
teach the children about the cycles.
The life cycles.  All the other cycles.
That’s what it’s all about, and it’s all forgot.”
—Gary Snyder, “For/From Lew.”

Meditation #21

Meditation #18

January 17, 2010

“Well, Al, I don’t know.  I guess I would have to say it would be because … if I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?”—Frank Serpico, when Al Pacino asked him why.

A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditations #18

“Sue no Chigiri”

January 3, 2010

“That’s what we all are.  Amateurs.  We don’t live long enough to be anything else”—Charlie Chaplin.

Sue no Chigiri

Recorded in Osaka, Japan, June 14, 2008, featuring Nakano Mikiko (shamisen and vocals) and Kurahashi Ayako (koto).  Introduction by Kurahashi Yodo II.

Meditation #17

December 27, 2009

“Music is a language related to the invisible by which nothingness suddenly is there in a form that cannot be seen but can certainly be perceived”—Peter Brook, The Empty Space.

A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditation #17

Meditations #15 and #16

December 20, 2009

“To be the sound.  That was the only tide she heeded.  She wanted to exist as music does, nowhere, beyond the maps of language”—Don DeLillo, Great Jones Street.

Shakuhachi improvisations.  Meditations #15 and #16

“Mujushinkyoku”

December 13, 2009

“As for the exercise of sitting until one does not hear, at the extreme of quiet stillness, the mind is not drawn into movement by the ears.  One hears only sound, not tone.  This is not hearing”—The Spirit of Tao (trans Thomas Cleary).

Mujushinkyoku

“Brought to life” by Jin Nyodo in 1937, who did not regard this piece as a “composition” but rather a shokyoku (“born piece”)—a sort of transcription of music that emerged naturally by itself.  The title derives from a passage in the Diamond Sutra: “Just at the point when one has no place to dwell (muju), such a spirit (shin) is born.”  The piece, implying “a heart with no abode,” or “an unattached spirit,” is reminiscent of the komuso’s prescribed reply to a question concerning destination: “I have no resting place.”  Jin Nyodo is said to have remarked that this piece conveys the spirit of a person who has lost everything, and in so doing, has found his true self.  Put another way: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).