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Playing shakuhachi as a prayer?
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-10-22, 11:12    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

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Jeff, you don't have t be sorry. I am anyway a heathen too... I am neither a Christian nor a Buddhist or the like... but I still pray - and probably on a very individual level.
Therefore this discussion is interesting in two ways. What is prayer for each individual and how do we use the shakuhachi in that context.
I agree with Pepe that prayer can be being one in the world - feeling gratitude and in particularly for my personal pint of view: empathy. And having focus on that while playing makes my playing closer to what I think is a prayer. In a way in my world praying for good exam results is not prayer.. nor is it prayer to pray for materialistic fortune... but all that is a grey zone because most of us can't live lives without some materialistic comfort...
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Jon Palombi
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PostPosted: 2011-10-22, 16:31    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

J. Danza wrote:
In any etymological source I consulted the meaning is always about "obtaining" , "begging", "requesting", something, from some outside source called 'God". I conceive of Life as an all pervading Intelligence, and therefore "God" is in every cell of my body and in absolutely everything, from the shakuhachi to the tree to the child to the car... it's all just dancing molecules taking different shapes and forms. In Hinduism it's called "Lila" or the Play of the Divine.


I also feel that the Divine Being is a Unified Field of Infinite Intelligence, out of which everything is emanated, yet at no time is there any separation between the causative essence of the Spirit and the manifestation of myriad life forms. The Chinese conception of The Eternal Tao is probably the closest human idea that expresses this all-pervasive, indivisible current flowing within all of existence. Advaitists would label such holistic unity as, The Self. To realize this spiritual immanence is truly, the threshold of supraconsciousness. Is this not Satori? All concepts suspended... might this also be seen as a form of prayer?

For myself, playing the flute draws me into a focus so absorbing... I am undone in the process. Sure, it's no doubt because of the symbiosis with the breath. Can this be perceived as a variation and even a type of pranayama? I believe it is. Not by forcing or specifically controlling the breath, rather, observing it and becoming one with it's ceaseless flow. Shakuhachi emphasizes this connection most profoundly and provocatively.

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In that context, for me, prayer is simply plugging into that Oneness in a state of Gratitude and Service, whether it's done through meditation, flute playing, taking the kids to school, cooking a meal, or cleaning the toilet.

On a relative level, though, I admit some means seem more "conducive" than others, and Shakuhachi is definitely my favorite "line" to "headquarters", but the Drum can take me there too.


Not surprising, as the two most primary aspect of being alive are: breathing and the continual beating of our heart. Both continuums share the rhythmic dance of form within formlessness, substance emerging from the insubstantial... bellows filling and emptying throughout every moment of our sentient existence (be it pumping blood throughout our vascular system or drawing and expelling air). Such "conducive" aspects of our existence keep us here & now, alive as sentient beings. Many flutists are also fine drummers.


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I fully agree with Jeff that the key element is intention, and from that perspective my commitment is that every time I blow on the Shakuhachi, it is a Prayer, and that does not change in performance.


Yeah, I can see how when one is educated or trained enough and is fully ready, all of the lines which separate this and that, subject and object, self and other... dissolve in the union with the instrument in hand. So, I hope I don't come of as coolly mechanical and self-absorbed. Honestly, for now, I am practicing the shakuhachi to merge within this subtle awareness and sometimes I arrive at a level of consciousness whereby my subjectivity is shattered into cosmic dust particles and I become so translucent from such a still state of consciousness, that I cannot tell the difference between who I am (behind the veil of being witness to the play of the universal) and everything else in this existential dance. Who would I pray to... about whom? Idea

I do have faith that when the human heart ripens and the very intent of The Dreamer pierces the membrane of duality... compassion, gratitude and deep caring about a other life forms is most natural and spontaneous. By accepting the paradigm of humankind's suffering and the irony of it's pursuit of fulfillment or contentment (like the proverbial fish, earnestly seeking water, the whole time existing within that very water it searches for)... prayer does indeed come into play.

After all, we are feeling beings, as much as we are thinking beings. But for me it is really all about surrender and acceptance. By accepting the illusion of a multiverse in constant flux, the play of dynamic opposites, brings this prayer full circle. Let appearances be as they are. Send healing thoughts to those in despair and deepest need... but do not get caught-up in the "reality" of any transient, mortal occurrences, as they too are illusory.

Love freely given is a gift beyond compare. It is a desire-less kind of prayer. Bringing the light of the Godhead into harmony with the sensibilities of the human heart. In this way, I do pray each time I touch the shakuhachi to my lips. So absolutely, intent is key to this discussion, as Jeff and Pepe have clearly alluded. Perhaps the goal of any sincere musician is to bring all of these high states of mindfulness into a seamless union?

While said goal may be another way of the mind finds to keep subjectivity intact, when tempered with selflessness, it gives new meaning to our prayers. using sound to heal the wounds of sentient collective, understanding the whole time that all is One and all is most perfect (in it's seeming imperfection).

"Not my will, but Thine, Oh Lord. Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven."

Er... I digress? I am honestly reaching for the common ground which Kiku's insightful thread has brought to the fore. It would seem that if we approach our playing, or anything else we do, as in when it becomes prayerful, it takes the broken parts & pieces and heals them through direct intention. How this happens is the realm of philosophers and meta-physicians. What it sounds like is ours.

When the beauty of the sound is flawlessly united with the compassion of the individual, the resultant healing gives yet another grand dimension to the Art of playing the shakuhachi. Ultimately, the music should be as pure as the heartfelt feelings of compassion and cultivated devotion. Hence the need for practice! One day I aspire to conjoin my practical skills with my internal inspirations. Pardon me while I return to my humble training? Baby steps for now... one at a time. Wink
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HORST XENMEISTER
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PostPosted: 2011-10-22, 21:57    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

Am reqired proper imagry for prayer und worship. Meditat on these image while playing shakuhachi. I am Horst. I am zen master.












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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2011-10-23, 01:06    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

Horst Xenmeister, I believe you have accurately distilled the causative essence of the Porcine Spirit and copiously illustrated the dynamic myriad manifestations of its multitudinous quotidian forms. Bless you.
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Fiona Dawes
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PostPosted: 2011-10-23, 08:31    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

Yes, but has Herr Xenmeister lost his beginner's mind
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HORST XENMEISTER
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PostPosted: 2011-10-24, 00:12    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

Fiona Dawes wrote:
Herr Xenmeister


SENSEI Xenmeister!
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Ba
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PostPosted: 2011-10-25, 13:15    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer? Reply with quote

"Who doesn’t drink vine is not a human…
Who doesn’t have sex is not a human…
Who are they?
Buddhas?
But why they look like humans?

Because it is…"

Prayer is a human,
Player is a human too.
Human who think about themself - "I'm prayer, I'm player".
But it is only a thought)))
Who prays?
One who plays!
)))
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PostPosted: Today at 12:21    Post subject: Playing shakuhachi as a prayer?

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