Friday, November 14, 2008

In Days of Old

Komuso Pictures, Images and PhotosSomewhere in the midst of midevil Japan, a sound echoed through the land. It was singular and sweet. It spoke of 'otherness` in a way that other sounds didn't. It held promise and mystery. It caused some to give-up everything in the material world other than a crafted bamboo tube... the shakuhachi. The purveyors of this dream were wandering monks known as Komuso. Practicing an uncommon form of Zen Buddhism brought to the Japanese shores in the 12th century from China, these men went so far in pursuit of their goal of becoming one with the universe as to relinquish their identity to others by donning a basket known as a tengai, that obscured their faces to any onlookers. Though the occurance of such mendicant monks has all but disappeared today, their practice known as suizen and the lure of enlightenment from one sound continues on. It may well be said that a piece of those players of old rests in the heart of every shakuhachi player today regardless of heritage, race or creed.


  1. It's so interesting to know about shakuhachi... I didn't know how to call this kind of japanese flute and I've tried to toll flute made by bamboo once and I thought so difficult to do it...

  2. Yes, the shakuhachi is known for its difficulty to learn. But I think it's the same as learning any other instrument. You have to learn what failing is before you can succeed.

  3. Of course I knew about shakuhachi, but I don't know why Komuso play the shakuhachi. Zen Buddhism think zazen is important thing to attain enlightenment. I don't know why they need to play the shakuhachi.