Monday, May 3, 2010

Kogan Murata; Ancient Echoes

Sensei Koku Nishimura gave Murata-san the name Kogan, which means to inspect deeply, to comprehend illusion and emptiness.

Having monks out in public reminds us of the importance of our inner life; to pay homage to nature, to the departed, to noble effort.

A wooden donation box reads “Without Existence, Without Extinction.”

“To play is to love. It’s not just ‘playing the flute.’ You have to play with every part of you, with everything in your heart.”
“My teacher told me that I should be able to play the flute in such a way that if I were playing next to a very sick person, or someone dying, they should not be annoyed by my sound in any way. That’s how gentle I should play.”

listening to the sutras

exhaled through a piece of bamboo

the body directly understands

the utter impermanence of everything

the sound is here


and it’s gone

“I have no interest in improvisation. Old tunes have centuries of refinement. I play those. If I’m in a bad mood, I can play those tunes as a person in a bad mood would. Another day, I play them as a person in a good mood would. There’s plenty to discover in that. It’s impossible to play them perfectly, of course, but to get close to perfect…there’s a whole world in that.”
“There are perhaps forty ‘classic’ tunes. I’ve chosen about seven. I can play them over and over. I can spend the whole day doing that.”

“We’d talk sometimes about Zen, or he’d tell me about his teacher, or about the history of the kyotaku, or sometimes ‘just nothing’ talk. But there was still some teaching there. He might just once slip in some important thing, with me barely noticing. I had to think hard to figure out what the message was behind one of his stories.”

“Nishimura-san taught me very important things. Blowing into the flute isn’t the problem. It’s the essence that he taught me.” “This!” he holds up his fingers in the shape he uses to cover the holes, “…this is just technique, just making sound. He told me, ‘If you think about technique, it won’t be the real thing.’ He told me to just forget about technique. Throw all that away. It’s only playing, and continuing to play that has meaning. That’s it.”