I started this blog to share some of my thoughts regarding my path with the shakuhachi, however, I never did divulge how I came to this path. So, this post is about the beginning of my way of the shakuhachi. As I remember it, it was around 1994 or 1995. I was visiting San Francisco and Japan Town. As I walked through the small indoor mall there was a fellow sitting in seiza on the floor. Now I new what seiza was because I have studied and still teach Aikido. Before I even saw this man I heard this haunting sound echoing throughout the mall. I stopped to listen and was completely mesmerized by the sound of this bamboo. I did not even know what the flute was made of at the time but now I remember it being a root end flute. He actually had multiple flutes. Now that I think of it there was probably thousands of dollars of flutes that he had and possibly he is someone famous now, who knows? After that I bought some cassettes of traditional Japanese music which had the shakuhachi and various other instruments on it.
Mysteriously, fourteen years had passed and I on occasion listened to the shakuhachi but never thought about actually playing it. Have you ever had one of those dreams that really influence your day, you know the ones that really stick with you? Well, sometime in July of 2009 I had one of those dreams. It was one of those vivid and as close to real life as you could get dreams. I'm sure that you can probably guess what it was about. In the dream I was playing the shakuhachi, but way beyond that was the feeling that I had while playing, a feeling of pure tranquility completely centered. Funny thing is that beyond that I don't remember much about the dream. However, when I awoke from the dream I knew what I had to do, the feeling was unbelievably powerful, inescapable. In some way, shape, or form I had to find a shakuhachi and learn to play it! But I had no idea what I was getting into, the long and difficult, but completely rewarding path that lay ahead. Below is a photograph of the path.
More to come in Part 2.