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The International Shakuhachi Society

Ukigumo

浮雲

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Dokyoku / Chikushinkai School.

History (Michael Chikuzen Gould):

Here the performer becomes free like the playful clouds high above the world of pain, suffering, happiness, ecstasy, disappointment, greed, ambition, etc., of human life.

Ukigumo appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Art of the Japanese Bamboo Flute, The Watazumi Doso Roshi


Floating Clouds Michael Chikuzen Gould

    Here the performer becomes free like the playful clouds high above the wold of pain, suffering, happiness, ecstasy, disappointment, greed, ambition, etc., of human life.

Floating Clouds (Larry Tyrrell) Larry Tyrrell

Floating Clouds (Larry Tyrrell) Larry Tyrrell

Japan - Tajima Tadashi, Master of Shakuhachi Tajima Tadashi

    Floating Clouds, G#, 2.55 shaku

    A clouds float quietly in the wide, deep sky, their shapes and sizes gradually change over time. This can be seen as a metaphor for human life, in which serenity, tranquility, and movement prevail.

Mysterious Sound of Bamboo Flute - 1 Watazumi Doso Roshi

    The title Ukigumo refers to the state of human lives as being similar to white clouds floating back and forth.

    In the Tokugawa period, the phrase, "He is who like the floating clouds, moving when the wind blows and remaining still when the wind is silent, is one who is truly at peace," was meant to point the way to the ultimate state for humans to attain. This state, however, should be perfectly normal; in the Watazumi school the object is to surpass this and to become as the wind itself which plays with the clouds.

    A 2.1 shaku hocchiku was used for this piece.

Mysterious Sounds of the Japanese Bamboo Flute - Watazumido-Shuso, The Watazumi Doso Roshi

    A 64 cm Hotchiku was used to express the feelings of one becoming the wind and playing with the white clouds floating in the sky.

Sangai Rinten - 3 Yokoyama Katsuya

    Literally "floating clouds," this piece suggests the coming and going of serene white clouds as it reflects on the existence of man in this world. Usually, a parallel is drawn with the Komuso priests who "entrusted themselves to the wind to be blown where it so wills."

Sokkan Taniguchi Yoshinobu

    Let one's body float up like the clouds, playfully blown this way and that by the wind. If the winds blow, the clouds move. If the winds are still, the clouds are still. The image is very natural. If the winds blow or don't blow, either way, clouds do not care. From this perspective, look down upon the human condition. Consider all the situations that we get ourselves into and all worked up about. . . for at least a day. When the next day arrives, something new comes along to get us worked up again, replacing the previous day's concern. We are so serious and uptight! The clouds say, "Why fight it all? If the wind blows, it blows. Don't try to stop it. If the wind doesn't blow, don't wish it were blowing".

    Why bother with the world?
    Let others go gray, bustling East, West.
    In this mountain temple, lying half-in, half-out, I'm removed from joy and sorrow.
    - Ryushu (1308-88) Yamagoe / Conquering The Mountain

    The actual characters used in the title are "yama" ("mountain") and "koeru" ("to excel, to overcome, to go beyond"). Uki Gumo is an expression of the mental toughness necessary to undergo spiritual training. The mountain is a typical symbol of a hardship being faced which, at first, seems impossible to transcend. The more you look and think about it while standing at bottom, the bigger it looms up over you. There's nothing to do, however, but to start climbing! It seems that one has to push oneself to the edge of "impossible".

    In shakuhachi training this is also true. You should seek the boundaries of "can/can't", "possible/impossible". Find what you can and cannot do. Learning shakuhachi requires immersing oneself in the activity of discovering, creating and recreating the extremes. In the extremes are found the limits and the parameters that ultimately define form. Only the act of "working" (climbing, training, meditating) will take one "beyond one's self".

Tajima Tadashi Shakuhachi no Sekai III Tajima Tadashi

Tamuke Taniguchi Yoshinobu

    Let one's body float up like the clouds, playfully blown this way and that by the wind. If the winds blow, the clouds move. If the winds are still, the clouds are still. The image is very natural. If the winds blow or don't blow, either way, clouds do not care.

    From this perspective, look down upon the human condition. Consider all the situations that we get ourselves into and all worked up about. . . for at least a day. When the next day arrives, something new comes along to get us worked up again, replacing the previous day's concern. We are so serious and uptight! The clouds say, "Why fight it all? If the wind blows, it blows. Don't try to stop it. If the wind doesn't blow, don't wish it were blowing".

    Why bother with the world?
    Let others go gray, bustling East, West.
    In this mountain temple, lying half-in, half-out, I'm removed from joy and sorrow.
    - Ryushu (1308-88) Yamagoe / Conquering The Mountain

    The actual characters used in the title are "yama" ("mountain") and "koeru" ("to excel, to overcome, to go beyond"). Uki Gumo is an expression of the mental toughness necessary to undergo spiritual training. The mountain is a typical symbol of a hardship being faced which, at first, seems impossible to transcend. The more you look and think about it while standing at bottom, the bigger it looms up over you. There's nothing to do, however, but to start climbing! It seems that one has to push oneself to the edge of "impossible".

    In shakuhachi training this is also true. You should seek the boundaries of "can/can't", "possible/impossible". Find what you can and cannot do. Learning shakuhachi requires immersing oneself in the activity of discovering, creating and recreating the extremes. In the extremes are found the limits and the parameters that ultimately define form. Only the act of "working" (climbing, training, meditating) will take one "beyond one's self".


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018