Yesterday we went to visit the work of a master instrument maker in Kyoto. The Shakuhachi is his family’s pride for 5 generations. It is a traditional Japanese flute that is hand crafted by using bamboo and carefully lacquered in red in the instruments entire neck.

The shakuhachi is blown from the end by articulating the instrument as you blow it. The monks of the Fuke-shū school of Zen Buddhism use it to practice ‘Suizen’, a blowing meditation. an innovation from the earlier “sitting meditation”. Fuke-shū zen Buddhists were characterized in the public’s imagination by its monks’ playing of the shakuhachi flute while wearing a large woven basket hat that covered their entire head as they went on pilgrimage.

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