mujuan dojo > the instrument  

the instrument

The Shakuhachi is an end blown bamboo flute. It is similar to end other end blown notched flutes such as the South American Quena and the Chinese Hsiao in that it has an open ended tube construction with a notch cut in the end to facilitate blowing. In the case of the shakuhachi the notch is cut obliquely outwards at about 45 degrees which creates a sharp curved edge. This allows a great deal of flexibility in the embouchure but at the same time makes blowing the shakuhachi and producing good sound a very difficult task to master. That difficulty when combined with the very subtle and refined techniques often used in performance can at first seem rather daunting, but with steady and diligent practice it is possible for everyone to enjoy the quiet pleasure and spiritual rewards of this ancient art. The sound of shakuhachi is said to lead the mind into a deep state of peace, and the focus required to play can sometimes lead to that state where, as the Zen monk Dogen described in his dissertation "'Fuken Zazenji", as "the dropping away of body and mind". In our shakuhachi suizen practice we use the term 'ichi-on yobutsu' or 'enlightenment in a single sound'.


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