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Monk's Dream

Sun RA One of our oldest and dearest friends, who goes by the name Rinchen, is a devout Buddhist currently two thirds of the way through a three-year hitch in a monastery in the Santa Cruz mountains, where he is studying with the teacher he’s chosen for life, and practicing almost total silence. Rinchen has no access to the outside world — no phone calls, no newspapers, no internet, no television… and no music. The latter fact is particularly striking, as Rinchen is one of the deepest listeners we know – a man who could spend an entire day tapped into an 8-disc Cecil Taylor free improv set, then put on some Parliament or Missy Elliott and jam the night away. Rinchen’s music collection was breathtaking — before he sold it all to finance his silent expedition.

A few times a year, Rinchen is granted a day or two to visit with family and to write letters to friends. We wrote him a few months ago asking what music runs through a monk’s mind in between the long periods of silence. Today we received the following poem/riff on Cage, Monk, Miles, The Meters and more (with bundled playlist).

"What music means to the life/mind" you asked.

Music here defined as
			"sounds heard"
	(Cage)
		
		"silence is music too!"
					(Sun Ra)
	
							
		(On Coney Island
	      Mr. Cage and Mr. Ra
	one holding a Chinese temple bell
	      and the other a gong,
		   at that site  together
		holding a rod 
 	   (uniting heave and earth))
	
				
& I remember liner note to CD of Tibetan Buddhist
chanting, a monk explained, "all sound is music &
all music is mantra"
	(mantra literally means to 'protect the mind')

			
	"music is the healing force of the universe" (Ayler)

			
which begs the question
what is the intention
behind the music, any music

spontaneousdancemixwrittendownjustlikethat
	
	1. Sing a simple song~sly
	2. Sivad~miles
	3. Gumbo variations~zappa
	4. Chug-a-lug~meters
	5. Chop'n'quench~fela
	6. Groove is in the heart~delite
	7. Slide~missy e
	8. They say I'm different~betty davis
	9. Bo Diddley~bo diddley
	10. Umbababarauma~jorge ben
	11. Feelin' good~jessie mae hemphill
	
	*		*	 	*
	
		Monk's mood
		
well you needn't
do a thing
ruby my dear

	but listen
	to the crepescule
	ugly beauty
	
of insect drone
& computer hum
mysterioso mix
	
	as sun rays
	trinkle tinkle
	into brilliant corners
	
off the horizon
off minor
evidence of

	a monk's dream
	epistrophy!
	bye-ya

… and then he adds …

Josh sig

From → Cut-Out Bin

One Comment
  1. Aloha Scott, Joshua and Ethan,

    I am grateful to be somewhat reconnecting with you all here. Bless Ethan for including me in the on-goings of you. I regret I have not replied to Joshua by letter to his letter sent to me so long ago now… but I have composed many musings in my mind and sent them via etherwaves to the monk-in-silence. I have undertaken silent periods for only brief spurts… a week, two weeks… and each time I realised I could have gone MUCH longer…. I find myself envying babies as they have no words in their minds yet… no thoughts per se, just pure unadulterated awareness. Adult-erated has a new meaning now.

    I live with my spectacular husband in the jungles of Molokai in a sweet little shack made of plywood and tin…. where ever are you all now?

    Full of love for the present as presented by the love in the past.

    Your Michi

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