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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Excited at first? Has your plan to blog daily lost it’s dazzle?

Yesterday I posted for the first time in a long time, and I don’t know why or how, but my whole day went better.  I recall how it was when I started; I thought “this blog will be my positive start to each day, a way to listen to the loving voices in me and defuse the doubting, depressed ones.”  Then alas, I fell off the trolley.,..but as in my post from yesterday, I now simply BEGIN AGAIN.

Because it works, it feels good…no need to analyze or justify, if something keeps you working on your goals, frees you from negative monkey mind, just keep doing it for Gods’ sake!

What does it take to get you (i. e. me)  in your own corner, rooting for yourself?  You (I) root for others and would never think of saying, “so…you find blogging a great benefit…oh well, don’t bother, you’re too busy, you don’t have anything to say…”

…and yet that kind of self talk is what kept me away from blogging.

One of my favorite parts about this blog is when I post a jazz video.  Then when I begin practicing guitar I have a vivid sound and picture of why I am putting in all this effort on drills and such…Today’s video is by  jazz guitar icon Grant Green, with a great band backing him up.

For me, it is imperative that I watch role models doing things that I aspires to.  Rather than compare myself and feel I have fallen short, I love hearing the great jazz, it ignites my desire to play the best I can, to allow myself to picture the gigs I plan to get, and picture them going fantastically, and the venues inviting me to come and play all the time, for a decent amount of money or other compensation.

You see, just writing that makes it seem possible, not a distant pipe dream…it makes me wanna up my guitar practice to 7 a day..not hard at all.

I hope my story helps you to start blogging again if you have drifted away like me.

Wes Montgomery for your Saturday Jazz Medicine

For your Saturday jazz fix, the one and only Wes Montgomery.  If I am down and listen to this it is not possible to remain there.  Jazz is this thing, like love or zen, that isn’t translatable to words, really.  The feeling that it evokes, when it is good, is just magic

So I am very lucky indeed to be given a chance to learn to play and sing it.  As you watch Wes in this video, he is so happy, relaxed, yet exuding joy.  Maybe he was feeling how lucky he was to be such a great player.  He kinda reminds me of the cat that swallowed the canary, like, if you people only knew how much fun it is to play this music, you would all want to do it too!

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.