Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Gift from Shinnyo-ji Temple

My teacher Morimasa Horiuchi Sensei in the mid-1960s used to play shakuhachi with his Sensei Tominomori Kyozan and on occasion an old shaven-headed monk, the head priest of Shinnyo-ji Temple, who made his own bamboo flutes and other works of art.

When the old monk heard that Mori-san was moving to America,  he generously presented my teacher with a going-away gift, his  shakuhachi made by the Shin-ryu that was stamped with the kanji Shin, or Truth.

The old monk also gave Mori-san his ink brush drawing of Daruma, or Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who transmitted Zen to China in the sixth century and began the first physical training of the Shaolin monks.
The jinashi bamboo nodes remain in the instrument bore refinements.

A meticulous method of tuning the flute for tone and pitch, slowly and minutely shaving tiny bits of bamboo out of the bore.

Nearly 50 years later, the monk/artist with the generous and kind spirit is still fondly remembered.