Buddhist philosophy in taiko

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This particular form of taiko, or why I got into playing taiko, seemed to fit. It was no teachers. It has some Japanese culture involved in it. It has some Japanese Buddhism involved because, philosophically, Reverend Mas says that when you perform, you have to try to perform with the non-self—egoless-ness—in which taiko groups are magnification of the community, in which individual problems are going to happen, but you have to deal with it. When you play, you need to consciously play your part in your piece, but you have to be aware of everybody else at the same time. So all those kinds of things that you have some Buddhist philosophy and concept in them, and yet that helps move the group forward. You can have all these things stepping back and moving forward all the time, but all of a sudden you have this micro family kind of a thing. So that’s a practical application of Buddhism, in Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism, in which it’s not necessarily—it’s all participation. It’s on a very, very simple level of just participating in life, in understanding your surroundings.

Date: October 15, 2004
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Art Hansen, Sojin Kim
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Arts: Music; religion

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