Shakuhachi / Blowing Zen – Spiritual Explorers

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The shakuhachi flute emerged during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868) as a tool to train Zen meditation through breathing. Shakuhachi player Kudo Lenzan, who collaborated with Sakamoto Ryuichi during the coronavirus pandemic, says that the sound of the natural bore bamboo shakuhachi expresses the spirit of Zen. It is especially relevant to the Japanese view of impermanence as depicted in Hojoki, written 800 years ago after a series of natural disasters. What role might the shakuhachi play in a world stricken by COVID-19?