Blowing shakuhachi quietens the fluctuations of the mind and quieting the mind helps to blow shakuhachi.

Anyone who spends time with a shakuhachi appreciates the intimacy and beauty of blowing a single tone on the flute. That in itself can be thoroughly rewarding. However, it is in the nature of these Japanese arts that the thirst for form arises and we yearn to take the tone for a walk.

Jin Nyodo made a point of stressing the relationship between good form and zen practice. So, how do we take this musical meditation to a high level of practice, while guarding its inherent meditative nature?

The answer lies in making a distinction between traveling the path and attaining a result. Being oriented towards travel rather than arrival means that one is happily and non-judgementally in motion all the time. Efforting is there, but it is valued in and of itself, not as a means to an end.

This 'way' of shakuhachi is quite different to a relationship that is attainment oriented. Yes, you are trying to do this and that on the flute, but you don't have to measure the value of your relationship with the music by wether you attain good results. Shakuhachi is difficult to play. We fail a lot. Still, we enjoy a lot too.....

One can be completely relaxed: body, embouchure, face muscles and shoulders. There is no imperitive to be anywhere else with your playing than where you are. A shift in your skill set will naturally happen when you play with full engagement, even if you abandon the intent to become more skillful.




The shakuhachi path
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