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 #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 #27

April 25, 2010

“The woman’s song, however, could have been a signal called by one mountain wayfarer to another on a distant hill.  In certain long notes which lay outside the passage of time because the rhythm was suspended, there was the immeasurable melancholy of mountain twilights.  Telling himself it was a beautiful song, he decided to stand still and let it work upon him whatever spell it could.  With this music it was senseless to say, because the same thing happened over and over within a piece, that once you knew what was coming next you did not need to listen to the end.  Unless you listened to it all, there was not way of knowing what effect it was going to have on you.  It might take ten minutes or it might take an hour, but any judgment you passed on the music before it came to its end was likely to be erroneous.  And so he stood there, his mind occupied with uncommon, half-formed thoughts.  At moments the music made it possible for him to look directly into the center of himself and see the black spot there which was the eternal…”—Paul Bowles, The Spider’s House.
A shakuhachi improvisation.   Meditation #27

Meditation #26

April 11, 2010

“The melody of inhaling and exhaling…Markandeya is listening to this song.  He is listening to the breathing of the Highest Being”—Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization.
A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditation #26

Meditation #25

April 4, 2010

“You don’t have to live in a cave or sit by a precipice to treat wealth and power like passing clouds.  You can sip wine and hum poetry without being addicted to streams and mountains”—Hong Zicheng, Vegetable Roots Discourse (Caigentan), trans Robert Aitken.
A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditation #25
*A note on the photographs: With two exceptions, all podcast photographs thus far were by Paul Scrivener of Vancouver, Canada.  (The photograph for “Light from the Shadows” is an archival photograph which was featured in the film by Robert Kowalcyzk.  The photograph for “Murasaki Reiho” was by a former student of mine, David Gardiner Garcia.)  Paul Scrivener’s photographs of Kyoto are available on the CD-ROM Kyoto Gardens, a project which we worked on together in the mid-90s and of which I retain fond memories.  From this podcast, “Meditation #25,” accompanying photographs are by Stewart Wachs, a long-time friend and colleague here in Japan.  Please refer to the links below for further information on Light from the Shadows, Kyoto Gardens, and Stewart Wachs: Photography.

Meditation #23

February 28, 2010

“No artist is able to overcome, through his own individual resources, the contradiction of enchained art within an enchained society”—Theodoro Adorno, Philosophy of Modern Music.
A shakuhachi improvisation.  Meditation #23
Bell recorded at Enryakuji Temple, Mt. Hiei, Kyoto.

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

Meditations #19 and #20

January 24, 2010

“The sound of the water says what I think”—Chuang Tzu.

Shakuhachi improvisations.  Meditations #19 and #20

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