A Quote from Rinzai ( d.866), and Jazz by Kenny Burrell

Today I want to take the time to think about the following quote:

“Today’s students of the Buddha-Dharma need to look for genuine insight. If you have genuine insight, birth and death will not affect you, and you will be free to come and go. Nor do you need to look for worthiness; it will arise of itself.

Followers of the Way, do not let yourselves be deluded by anyone; this is all I teach. If you want to make use of genuine insight, then use it right now without delay or doubt.

Students nowadays do not succeed because they suffer from lack of self reliance. Because of this lack, you run busily hither and thither, are driven by circumstance, and kept whirling by the ten thousand things.-“
Rinzai ( d.866)

I found it very empowering to read “if you want to make use of genuine insight, then use it right now without delay or doubt.”

That makes me feel like a child, who knows without doubt the value of feeling good, of wanting and then receiving a desired thing (be it material, experiential or emotional, mental)…

As an adult I often question the voracity of wanting anything – would it be good if I got it, what if I can’ t  get it…all this just keeps me from living…keeps me in fear, in a place where I am fighting to be “not – alive”….but the statement “use it right now without delay or doubt” opens it all up for me…When I watch a video (like the one I have posted below), I can see without delay or doubt how I will practice today:

…I practice in the wake of the greatness I experience in the videos of  Wes or Herb or other great guitarists.  I will flow with it …for the joy of it…like a child on fire with the delight of mastery — just for the sake of getting lost in the pursuit, not because it will lead to a gig or impress someone else.

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Why “Never Talk To Strangers” is a wrong-headed idea

I heard a public service announcement on my public radio station today, the jist of which was be sure to tell your children to never talk to strangers.

Wait!  What???

Since most of the people a child sees any given day (if they live in a metro area) would be people they have never met, that means they are being taught to go around purposely ignoring and treating as threatening almost every other human being they see in the course of their day.

We need to teach children that there is that one nut that will hurt or abduct you.   But what about teaching them SKILLS….

the SKILLS they need to relate to people, meet new people, and navigate each encounter?

I agree in general that CHILDREN don’t need to talk to strangers, but their PARENTS definitely should.  But I typically observe that the parents avoid contact with strangers too, because they are trying to model the behavior they want from their children–and in the process, adults all over the country are ignoring, treating as dangerous. the very people that could become friends, spouses, leads to new jobs or business (if self employed)…  This is complete lunacy!

Parents are the role models.  So what if they model street wise behavior…and model the idea—to use an old cliche–that “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Parents can model common streetwise intelligence–how to determine if any given person is safe to talk to:   things like, where is this occurring –a dark alley or a safe place?  And is the person acting appropriately, making eye contact (but not too much) and so on..

What I see are young parents completely isolated from others in a hostile (not) world, ensconcing their children in their apron strings…

…  Both adults and children need the street wise skills to make their way in the world;  skills that are a complete enigma because of this ludicrous blanket admonition of “never talk to strangers”.

So, show your kids HOW to relate to each stranger in a smart fashion, let them begin to practice talking to strangers while you are present, and as they get older, armed with streetwise-ness, encourage them to go out alone with that old cliche:

“A stranger is (might be) just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Thank You for considering this important concept.  Have a friendly day.

Trella

How May I Drive Away the Sorrows?

“And now as long as long as there are beings to be found,lake
May I continue likewise to remain
To drive away the sorrows of the world.”

Shantideva – Verse 55 / Chapter 10 of the Bodhicharyavatara

With my music, everything I say, do, think and feel, may I, Trella, be a driver away of sorrows of the world. This phrase moved me and put into focus why I live, why anyone lives.  It is to have a hand in bringing joy and beauty while driving away the sorrows.  What an amazing outlook on life. Today as I learn music and write songs may it be from this perspective.  Perhaps the songs will be heard, downloaded from iTunes…and with each listen, the songs will help to drive away these sorrows.

Jazzin’ the Day Away

I am posting a jazz guitarist video today to start my day of practice off right.  The arpeggios are getting easier all the time and I think if I can break the sound barrier so to speak, that place at which most people would quit because they don’t see how any of the drills will make them able to play actual improvised jazz, or even to take the songs they currently know and play them in a much more enjoyable arrangement..

So, yes, in spite of all the lack of proof that it will work, I will practice on in despair, like a mountain climber that knows that even if they reach the top they will most likely not make it down again due to hazards of nature…

That sounds so drama-queen-ish but it is how it feels to work and work for hours on one song and then play it and realize it does not sound good yet…

But I will go on because part of me knows that the day will come, in a month, a year, or 2 years, or more, when I will play well, when each song will be up to par, when I will have the gigs, respect from my fellow musicians, and most importantly, when I will use my new guitar skills to compose songs that I feel will make a difference – will help one or more people to learn, gain a new insight or be free of some mental anguish, due to the message and love in the song that I sing.

I don’t mean that I will be a star or that my video  will go viral, just that the ones who do hear my music will benefit from it.

This is almost like going back to a time when live performers were everywhere, before they had computers, TV, or even radio.

The world I want to live respects  songwriters and musicians of dedication, not because they are famous or because the are “trending” on social media, but because their music is glorious, like a beautiful painting by a master painter.

So enough of my rant, here is a video to inspire and entertain you and me:

Help! Is this Hard Bop? Be Bop?

 

 

Here is Russell Malone, great player.  Hope you will give comment on my question above.

I love this style, so as I learn to play it I want to be sure I am using the term that  generally applies to this “type” of jazz .

 

Today I have had more trouble with pain as I work on the arpeggios in each key.

 

But that will not stop me.  I took 600 mg of ibuprofen and used an icy hot patch.

Here goes for 4.5 hours today.  Also breaking it into nine sessions to avoid repetitive stress on the mussels and joints.  Speaking of joints……ah…just kidding…no really.  I could use one about now.

 

On another note, there is a book I have mentioned before, but it bears repeating.  It is called “The Perfect Wrong Note”

This bear looks like the attitude I need today to get my practice done.  Damn it, I am mad as hell that I  don’t know the scale patterns yet and  I’ll be darned if anything will stop me, so watch out world!

Back the the afore mentioned book:  When I spoke about some of its concepts to a former guitar teacher, he was NOT receptive. I believe some of the approaches require one  to be a bit ZEN like.  I am all for that.Perhaps I will revisit the book where he addresses pain caused by long hours of practice.

 

…Readers, stay with me, over the coming posts I will be sharing my insights on zen and music, on making a difference in the world rather than complaining about politics and  such, and especially on my continued love affair with jazz guitar, with being an adult learner, and breaking through my life long inability to stick to something and become excellent.  To actually succeed via my own firm commitment.

 

This will entail overcoming my fear that when I do well I will be expected to keep doing well, and I will become somewhat well known at least regionally…

Which will make me feel like a phony, or too public, or, I don’t know – afraid I won’t be me anymore.  That I will try to be what or who I think the people that like my music think I am.  Or I will try to be like some other female jazz guitarist or singer.  If you have gone from obscurity to a small degree of local fame, how have you kept on your original path, avoided a swelled head, and continued to work as hard as when you were just trying to get out of the starting gate?

You see I am a very private person who likes to be soft and gentle–not all gutsy like those guitar shredders I  have read about.    Emily Remler in particular. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great player.  But whatever she was doing in her life, she ended up addicted to H and died in her 30s.

This is a big challenge for me as you can see.  But life is either a daring adventure or nothing as someone once said.

Pat Martino, Jazz Great: Watch and Learn

Today I will focus on relaxing my hands, arms, and entire approach while I learn more arpeggios.  As you see in the video of amazing Pat Martino, no tension in hands or body.  I love his playing because it is melodic and has a beat.  This is a good one for those who think they don’t like jazz because it goes all over the place and you can’t hear the melody.

Yes, some jazz is like that, but not the kind I enjoy or want to play.  But everyone has their own tastes and all kinds of music are valid–even if  touching just one individual.

The other thing about this video:  He is not young.  Look at the great playing, that one can do at any age.  So inspirational.  If you don’t know about this artist, he was in a fatal accident and did not play for years, then he later returned, better than ever.