ROBERT JONAS has been playing the Japanese bamboo flute, the shakuhachi, since 1991. This meditative shakuhachi music comes from the Buddhist Sui-Zen ("Blowing Zen") tradition. Jonas has studied under shakuhachi masters David Duncavage, Yoshio Kurahashi sensei, Riley Lee, Ronnie Seldin, Marco Lienhard, and most recently, Michael Gould. On this CD Jonas plays several versions of Sui-Zen pieces.

Jonas is director of a small contemplative Christian retreat center near Boston called The Empty Bell. He is an active member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies. In the past, the Empty Bell has sponsored many Christian-Buddhist dialogues in the Northeastern U.S. As a Christian musician, Jonas travels to Protestant, Catholic and Unitarian churches and retreat houses to play shakuhachi and to co-lead contemplative retreats with Buddhist teachers. In what must be a high point for any Sui-Zen player, in 1998 Jonas played shakuhachi (Jimbo Sanya) at a Buddhist-Christian retreat with the Dalai Lama, held beneath the Bodhi tree where Buddha was enlightened 2500 years ago.

Jonas has published several book reviews and contributed to anthologies of spirituality. He is author of Rebecca: A Father's Journey from Grief to Gratitude (Crossroad) and Henri Nouwen: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Robert A. Jonas (Orbis). He is currently working on a book about his travels with the shakuhachi.

While sincerely honoring the shakuhachi's Buddhist roots, Jonas plays the instrument from the heart of Christian prayer. Where Sui-Zen players may seek "to become Buddha in one sound", Christian shakuhachi players might, in each blowing breath, surrender into their identity as children of God, having the mind of Christ. For Buddhists, the sometimes messy musical overtones of Sui-Zen express the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, in which the opposites of order and chaos come together. For Christians, these same breathy overtones might remind us of the paradox of Holy Week, in which the ugliness and shame of Good Friday are held in tension with the blessing and beauty of the Resurrection. The silence between each honkyoku note invites Buddhists into the profound interdependence of emptiness and compassion. This same silence invites Christians into a state that the 5th century Christian mystic Pseudo-Dyonysius called "the dazzling darkness of God".

Shakuhachi honkyoku played on 1.8', 2.1' 2.4' and 2.8' instruments.

1. Kyo Rei 2.8
2. Hon Shirabe 2.8
3. Chikugo Sashi 2.4
4. Mukai Ji 2.4 5.
Azuma No Kyoku 2.1
6. Matsu Kazé 2.4
7. Murasaki Reibo 1.8
8. Sokaku Reibo 1.8
9. Daiwagaku 2.4

Read the Liner Notes to Blowing Bamboo.



Zen Celtic sacred songs & meditations.This CD fuses Celtic Christian songs from Ireland and Scotland with the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. Featured Celtic vocalists Jacynth Hamill and Heather Innes weave their voices with the sound of Robert A. Jonas's Zen flute.

1.Kyo Rei
2. Peace Chant/Shi-O-Chain
3. Healing God
4. Safekeeping and Blessing
5. Rain
6. De Profundis
7. Eye of God
8. New Life From Ruins
9. Shadows
10. Shirabe
11. Psalm 139
12. Escomb Prayer
13. A Prayer of Protection
14. Deep Peace



Tibetan Buddhist, Zen, Jewish, Christian &Sufi sacred songs. This CD is a journey through distinct sacred spaces of the body, mind and heart. There is no one theme or musical genre represented here. Instead, we hope that listeners will enjoy the respect, love and care-full sensibility that streams through each piece and connects them in the cave of the heart.

1. Jakushin (Japanese: Lonely Heart)
2. Give Thou to Me, Oh God
3. Heart Sutra
4. Prayer to the Three Jewels
5. Schma Y'srael
6. Ali Maula
7. Precious Lord 8.
Three Principles of Mind Training
9. Oseh Shalom
10. Passage to Peace
11. O Virtus Sapientia
12. Can't Help Falling in Love
13. Pie Jesu
14. Shirabe


Monty H. Levenson, P.O. Box 294, Willits, CA 95490 USA

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