Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Jikan » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:37 pm

Shomyo is an ancient singing practice that is carried in in the Tendai and Shingon schools. Its qualities are very hard to describe. There was a recent performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC that is very much worth giving a listen to. Enjoy:

http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M5794
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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Seishin » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:48 pm

Fantastic shomyo, love it. :twothumbsup: I'll never be that good.

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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby jikai » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:36 am

@Seishin san ,
Are you learning Shomyo in English? Or Japanese?

@Jikan san,
I'm really intrigued by what I've heard about the English Shomyo at New York betsuin. Are there any recordings of this out there?

Gassho,
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"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"
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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Seishin » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:07 am

At the moment I'm not learning any. But anyone who has heard me singing well tell you that I'll never be any good at Shomyo! :tongue:
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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Jikan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:30 pm

jikai wrote:@Seishin san ,
Are you learning Shomyo in English? Or Japanese?

@Jikan san,
I'm really intrigued by what I've heard about the English Shomyo at New York betsuin. Are there any recordings of this out there?

Gassho,
Jikai.


Much of the shomyo is untranslatable and sung in the traditional syllables.

There are some pieces, such as Gobai, that were translated into English in such a way as to preserve the rhythm, melody, and sense by Yamada sensei. There used to be a set of audio files available someplace but I don't have access to them now, unfortunately. Shomon Pia Trans in Denmark may have that material available; her contact information is found at www.tendai.eu

Learning shomyo takes time and effort. or maybe I'm a slow learner? it took me several weeks just to manage the words "shi shi mo san kai" without getting a correction! :lol:
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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Jikan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:01 pm

I had a moment so I got out my notes and my shomyo practice book. Here are some more particulars.

These are the Shomyo pieces that we practice in English:
Sorai Sambo
Shihou Nembutsu (includes the Sanskrit names of Buddhas and bodhisattvas)
Gobai
Sanrai
Shichi Butsu Tsukaige
Kujo Shakujo (nine parts to this)

These we practice in Japanese:
Ko Nembutsu
Kassatsu

These are in traditional Sino-Sanskrit syllables:
Shichi Bongo San
Shichi Kango San
Ko Shichisan

I'm sure I've missed some. Just speaking personally, there are some of the translations that stand out as particularly well done. the Kujo Shakujo is a joy to practice. Shichi Butsu Tsukaige is beautiful.
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Re: Shomyo no Kai: "Voices of a Thousand Years"

Postby Doko » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:31 am

I have really taken a liking to Ko Nembutsu and Kassatsu lately.
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