DAIBUTSU!

•May 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Bells fill my eyes
Flowers fill my nose
Buddha gazes upon Buddha
Greatness is everywhere

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Equanimity Achieved

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Been struggling for the past week or two with a barrage of thoughts and anxiety about going to Japan. The home of the religion I have practiced for the past 7 years, birthplace to my musical passion, home to my wife’s family … so much energy built up . So many expectations. Not able to speak or read Japanese, coupled with travelling to places I’ve never been has brought some anxiety with it.

Getting on the plane and sitting down it all melted away. Realizing it is no different from daily life. Just accepting each experience as it comes. The planning phase is over, now it is time to just experience the trip.

So now is a time of not knowing and just experiencing.

“In arriving there is no abode. In departing there is no destination. Ultimately how is it. Here you are, where you have always been.”

– John Daido Loori : Capping verse of Daowu’s Place of No Birth and No Death.

Gassho

Dokan

Arriving where I’ve always been.

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Warm greetings from all I meet
Familiar faces warm my heart
Zazen in a distant land
Feels like home

Japan Planning

•May 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Much of my time has been focused on my trip to Japan that begins tomorrow.   Between planning my accommodations, train routing and schedules while there, it’s been quite an undertaking.  On top of this, I’ve been practicing endlessly the three pieces I’ll be performing with Mujuan dojo.  Having never been to Japan, and not speaking Japanese, there has been a lot of research I’ve been doing.  I owe so very much to Google.  Not only for train routes and schedules, but getting street views to try to identify markers on the way between locations.  I’ve now finalized my schedule which is:

  • May 22: Fly to Narita
  • May 23: Bus to Tsukuba
  • May 24: Treeleaf Shukke Tokudo ceremony
  • May 25: Treeleaf Zazenkai and travel to Nara
  • May 26: Zazenkai and stay at the Soto temple Nan’yoji
  • May 27: Spend day with my zen teacher, Taigu Turlur in Kyoto
  • May 28-31: Shakuhachi Camp in Kyoto
  • June 1-4: World Shakuhachi Festival in Kyoto
    • Performing June 1 @ 13:00 – Mujuan Concert (Mukaiji & Murasaki Reibo)
    • Performing June 1 @ 14:00 – Rocky Summer Camp Concert (TBD)
    • Performing June 1 @ 18:00 – Mujuan Evening Concert (Takiochi)
  • June 5-6: Free tourist time in Kyoto
  • June 7: Travel day back to Tsukuba
  • June 8: Fly back to Dallas

While I don’t have an international data plan, hopefully I’ll be able to find enough wifi spots that I’ll be able to keep up on my travels here.

Gassho,

Dokan

Lesson #26 – Koku

•March 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So this lesson we did another play through of Darani and then began on Koku.  Koku is one of my favourite pieces and I am very excited to be learning it.  Koku, meaning “Empty Sky” is one of the Koten Sankyoku.  Separated into five sections, we were able to play through the first section.  Not overly technical, the simplicity makes it a beautiful sound.  Will most likely be on this piece for some time.

Gassho,

Dokan

Lesson #25 – Darani

•March 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Having started the piece last week, this week we finished up Darani.  It wasn’t overly technical, however holding some of the notes in the upper register was a bit challenging.  The dai-kan of sano-u was daunting, however turned out not to be a stumbling block…having the breath afterwards to finish the phrase cleanly was another story.  

For the last part of the piece, the ho-no-kyoku, we did a read through.  Jon said I did quite well.  I was wishing I had at least glanced at it before we begun, but Jon played it slower than it’s traditionally played, being the gracious sensei he is.  It is quite surprising how different the last third of the piece is.  Oddly different.  Once again, was a beautiful piece and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ronnie’s rendition of it to set my mind focused.

 

Gassho,

Dokan

Lesson #24 – Sanya Sugagaki

•February 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This week Jon and I finished up Sanya Sugagaki.  Since much of the piece is repetition it wasn’t overly complicated to play through.  Jon’s explanations of moving from TSU (kan) to I-Meru (otsu) was somehow initially challenging.  Essentially it came out to be a matter of ‘over-shading’ when moving between the notes.  After that correction the remainder of the piece flowed fairly well.  Several areas of practice came to light with this piece:

  1. Timing.  I need to work on ensuring my timing is accurate, especially since it can be played as a duet.
  2. Shading.  Being careful on the I-Meru and the Chi-Meru’s needs some work.
  3. Softly playing meru notes.  This came up with Kurahashi’s lessons but continues to be an area of focus.

I really enjoyed the rythmic nature of this piece and that it allowed for yuri.  Looking forward to playing it duet with Jon next lesson!

Gassho,

Dokan