Bamboo Gospel Hour

Zen Shakuhachi, Bamboo of the Dharma

Cornelius Boots music and philosophy
Scott Traffas   tea

Shakuhachi is the robust woodwind/flute of “ancient” Japan and Zen Buddhism.  Experience shakuhachi as a transformational device through its classical, chant-based nature repertoire, sound meditation, new creative music, and Taoist and Zen philosophy. Includes simple breathing exercises, Q & A, discussion, and: tea.

We will delve into the old Zen Buddhist shakuhachi tradition and the new mysticism that is collaborative and creative. Also featured, the Taimu: a deep, wide baritone brother of the shakuhachi. The One Sound. Presence, musical innovation, advanced woodwind performance and composition.

In the 20th century, as shakuhachi outgrew Japan and was introduced globally, debates among those who studied it often fell into a “music vs. meditation” dualism; However, those of us who train and practice know it to be a wonderful collision—at a deep level—of both. We are engaged in one main activity: absolute unending presence. For those ancient and modern that discover shakuhachi, this unfolds naturally through music, conscious breathing and meditation.

Featuring new, original compositions and the classical Buddhist songs (honkyoku 本曲) for shakuhachi that are derived from nature, dreams, breath awareness and manipulation, devotional chant, existential philosophy and contemplation. They are part of a tradition over 1000 years old and connect to the Fuke sect of China (9th century) which contained the origins of what would become Japanese Zen flute. Focusing attention on the absolute, inescapable present moment is the basic practice of Zen. 

Mukyoku (無曲 songs of nothing) are original compositions written for the Taimu (big nothing) flutes through an animistic compositional process (what do the flutes want to play?). Inspirational elements of mukyoku include Zen Buddhist honkyoku, Mississippi blues, melodically structured long tones, and breath texture.