Haru no Hara SuiZen
As it turns out I was very wrong about the Sakura being gone. Many places still have lots of flowers. Even after the winds and rains we have had for the last few days.
Only now they are starting to make a soft pink blanket on the wet spring grass. This takes on a different kind of beauty to the landscape and the walks through and to where ever.
My third Shakuhachi lesson has come and gone. The class is suppose to be for 45min to an hour, however I am usually there from 7:30 until 9:00. Sensei started this week giving me some history on the Shakuhachi after the playing part of the lesson.
Purity of the note. This is some thing I have to work on. A clean, clear, pure note. I am somewhat limited by the PCV flute I am using to practice with. This is something also Sensei said, a flaw of using a non-Bamboo Shakuhachi. It can not be helped, until I have gain some lip aperture skill and acquire my own. This I can relate to Kyudo. Building Ashibumi and up before I can hit the Mato, much less have a pure shot. More on Kyudo later.
This is my main thing of focus now. Secondly it is learning the fingering, the notes on the staff, the Japanese for the note. Multi-layers. Still Kyudo is harder, at least right now.
Part of the history about the shakuhachi, is it’s use by the Zen as a tool, for enlightenment. They did not meditate by sitting, they meditated by playing the shakuhachi. So to me this says to me, as I have known Meditation is not just sitting, even if one is seeking “enlightenment”. So the Shaolin Monks could have used Chuan Fa (martial arts) as a way of training for their and in their meditation. Having Sitting Zen/ Chan and moving Chan. With this train of thought it is quite easy to understand using Kyudo as a way of Meditation, enlightenment, besides as just an aid to training, calming the mind. The pure shot, the pure shot would not just be hitting the target. It would be composed of motion, sound and a clear thoughtless, but focus mind.
As with the Zen Kuke Monks, playing their notes, drawing their sound from the universe, focus on the breath, but not focused, on the Shakuhachi, but not focus, in tune to the sound of the universe and playing that, into the sounds of their steps, the birds, the air through their flute. In Kyudo there are also these sounds. The clear perfect note of the string on a pure shot, the snap of the Yumi, the Ya as it cuts through the air, the sound of the mato being pierced. Could not this perfect gathering of sounds, notes, also strike the cord of enlightenment. Newton was “enlightenment” to gravity by the apple hitting (thud sound) his head.
It is not really worth the static of bring this up to any non-believer of “Zen” in Kyudo, or Kyudo as “Zen”. Those who know would already know, those with closed eyes will not see the ground in front of them.
All this to say the Shakuhachi is another branch of the Zen tree. Speaking of Zen tree. I also was told about my lineage in the Fuke Shakuhachi line. I had not considered having a lineage with an instrument before, however this is the way of traditional things in the Japanese path. I am now part of a lineage. However, I will not be. given a rank as I progress as my Sensei does not follow strict protocol he is a bit of a rebel.
I was just thinking of the Marital use of the Shakuhachi by the Kuke Monks and hidden Ninjas, when I recalled a movie called the Silent flute or Circle of Iron. A movie starring David Carradine, my Shifu was also in it. It was about a Blind Kung Fu master, who had a flute, which was also a staff. He used this for defence and music. This was Kung Fu and nothing to do with Japan or the Shakuhachi, but well, you know… Anyway… never mind. I digress.
The point of this post, the Sakura are still around and my Shakuhachi lesson continue, on a deeper note than just playing sounds. I am digging it. who knows maybe someday all this, Kyudo, Shakuhachi, Zen/Chan, Tai Chi/Kung fu stuff will come together into something awesome. That would be awesome or maybe I will become enlightened…or realize I am already.