Sui Zen
Blowing Meditation on the Shakuhachi

By Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin
and Barbara Lee Krooss
Sterner Editorial Services, Hoboken, N.J.: 2004

This multimedia package examines Sui Zen, the use of
the shankuhachi, the bamboo flute that is the only melodic
instrument used for meditation in the Zen Buddhist
tradition.

The 142-page book is divided into six chapters that
present the rich history of Sui Zen that was documented
by Jin Nyodo. The pioneering ethnomusicologist traveled
throughout Japan in the early 20th century to memorize
and transcribe music that was passed down by rote by
Zen Buddhist monks. The music and its traditions had
become assailed politically and culturally over centuries,
so without Jin Nyodo’s life effort, much if not all of it
would have been lost forever.

Accompanying the book are five compact disks of the
music. Each of the CDs is coded with an icon to link it to
the chapter in the book in which the compositions are
explained. The pieces were recorded by Ronnie Nyogetsu
Reishin Selden during a series of lectures at the Open
Center in New York. The lectures formed the basis of
much of the text, which was expanded upon by the
research of Barbara Lee Krooss.

A bundle of sandalwood incense is packed along with the
book and music CDs to help the reader / listener drift into
the mood of this meditative music which instills a sense of
infinite space, in which there is no up, no down, no sides,
no forward nor back. Let this music transport you to a
world away from workaday worries.