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Japan IV - A Musical Anthology of the Orient - Unesco Series - Buddhist - LP

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A Musical Anthology of the Orient - Japan IV - Unesco Series

Musicaphon Records
German Issue

Vinyl is VG++ to Mint
Laminated Gatefold Cover has slight ringwear.
Cover is also multilingual informative booklet with photographs of traditional buddhist instruments.

Side A


Side B


Musical Anthology of the Orient, Unesco Collection Vol 4
"Buddhist Music"
Baren Reiter Musicaphon - BM 30 L 2015

Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto

1 Hokku 06'04

HOKKU (Special reading; the two characters would normally be read houko, hou meaning the Buddhist law, ko a drum). The "Great Summons to Prayer" is reserved for high feasts. It has a duration of about fifteen minutes. The recording offers an abridged version. The instrument is usually placed on a veranda, outside the prayer-hall, and is struck by a single drummer.

Performer: Mr. Kagaku Nishioka. Instrument Sodoku (odaiko).
Recorded in the garden of the Enkaku-ji, Kamakura on October 31st 1953.

2 Fusatsu-no-e 20'07

FUSATSU-NO-E is the complete ceremony of communal penitence which is held twice a month. The service recorded here was held in the Eiheiji, a monastery of the Sodo (Zen)-Sect, Fukui prefecture, Northern Japan. The ceremony comprises four sections, recited in alternation by precentor and community and accompanied by percussion instruments (v. above, instruments).


I. Zange-mon, penitence.
"Since the beginning of the world
Mankind is stained by innumerable sins.
Greed, wrath and folly reign supreme.
In order to emerge from the ocean of pollution
We penitent sinners prostrate ourselves."

(Recited three times)

II. Shichi butsu, invocation of the seven Buddhas of the mystic wheel.

"Praise to Bibashi (Vipasyin), the first among the seven Buddhas of the mystic wheel;
Praise to Shaka '(Shakyamuni), who gave us the doctrine;
Praise to Monju-shiri (Mafijusd), the Buddha of the highest wisdom;
Praise to Fugen (Samantabhadra), the Buddha of prudence and fortitude;
Praise to Kwanze-on (Avalokitesvara), the Buddha of mercy;
Praise to Miroku (Maitreya), the Buddha of future ages;
Praise to all the Buddhas of (the Issaikyo) the Canonical scriptures."

(Recited twice)

III. Shigu seigan, the vows of the four arrows.

"We promise to guide all mankind to the path of the Buddha;
We promise to enlighten darkened minds;
We promise with unremitting ardour to study the doctrine
And unswervingly-there is no higher path- to continue our pilgrimage on the path of the Buddha."

(Recited three times)

IV. Sampio no rei, ritual of the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

"No higher thought than the teaching of Buddha;
No greater splendour than the law;
No life more blissful than the life of the monk."

(Recited once)

V. Benediction of the abbot
Performers: The monks of the Eihei-ji.

Afternoon ceremony recorded by Eta Harich-Schneider on November 23rd 1953, with the kind permission of His Eminence, the Abbot of the Eiheiji.

3 Sange (Shomyo) 散華(上段) 02'43

SANGE, "The scattering of lotus flowers" is a kada, a special form of Buddhist hymn. It opens the ceremony of Tsuina-shiki-hoe, usually celebrated on the 3rd or 4th of February. (Occasional shifts of the date occur). Sange is intoned at the Jodojo, the symbolic purification of temple and clergy. On the festival of Tsuina, which is a ceremony to chase away the devils, the kada "Sange" is accompanied by the scattering of propitious beans to the pious crowds assembled before the temple.

"We scatter lotus-flowers to the ten quarters,
We scatter lotus-flowers like a bunting
We scatter many lotus-flowers to the ten quarters
And worship the innumerable Buddhist saints."

The classical vocal ornaments, the trills and shakes, the abrupt opening of the voice, the emphatic breaks and expressive morendo are performed with supreme skill.

Performer: Rev. Dosen Takayama. Instruments: keisu and shokei.
Recorded in the Eiheiji on November 22nd 1953.

4 Shichi Butsu 02'22

SHICHI-BUTSU, a shomyo, performed as a funeral hymn at the death of a monk or a nun.

Text: see Side No.2 Fusatsu, II (abridged)

Performer: Rev. Dasen Takayama; Instruments: keisu, shokei, nyohachi, rei
Recorded by Eta Harich-Schneider in the Eiheiji on November 22nd 1953

5 Santoobachi 01'54

SANTOBACHI, the "mountain summit sound" is the percussion concert accompanying a funeral ceremony. The instruments are shikei, gakudaiko and nyohachi.

Performers: The monks of the Eiheiji
Recorded on November 23rd 1953

6 Bai 10'47

BAI (BOMBAI) "NYORAI MYO SHOKU", "The Buddha of wisdom in the splendour of his thousand colours" is a fragment of one of the oldest preserved hymns. The text is a Chinese translation of a passage from the sutra Srimara-simha-nada, Sho mangyo in Japanese. The translation was made by the monk Gunabhadra (390-464 A.D.). This bombai is a hikyoku, an esoteric melody, which may only be heard by the initiated. On Mount Hiei it is performed only during the initiation ceremony. This typical example proves Buddhist chant to be a private meditation-even in the midst of a crowd - the purpose of which is enlightenment.

Performer: The Right Reverend Genyu Nakayama, Director of the Shomyo-school on Mount Hiei
Recorded on Mount Hiei, on November 11th 1953

7 Moosoo-biwa 04'45

MOSO-BIWA, "The lute of the blind monk". As a spiritual exercise blind monks used to sing passages from the sutras to the accompaniment of the bass-lute. Today this obsolescent tradition is only to be found in the Genseiho-guild of the Tendai Sect on Kyushu. There are still two schools, the Myouon-in school and the Sei-rei school. The recorded example is performed in the style of the Sei-rei school. It is a passage from the Suvarna-prabhasa-sutra, in Japanese Konkomyo-kyo.

Performer: The Rev. Gyoshun Ogawa
Recorded by Eta Harich-Schneider in the Kwanze-on-ji, an old temple on Kyushu, on August 7th 1957

8 Kaichin 04'02

KAICHIN, Evening signal to retire. The monastic day is regulated by signals given on percussion instruments; there is a signal to rise for early morning service, there are various summons to gatherings or prayers, to the cleaning of the temple hall, and also to retire. At nine o'clock three groups of nine beats each are struck on the tsuridaiko, each group being answered by a single beat on the ogane. Then follows a pattern on the wooden gong han, struck three times, beginning very slowly and working up to a great speed; at the very end there are two isolated strokes. Finally the big bell is struck twice. When the monks hear this, they quietly interrupt meditation or work and prepare to return in quiet procession to their cells.

Performers: The monks of the Eiheiji
Recorded at the Eiheiji on November 22nd 1953.
(Translation by Eta Harich-Schneider)

Eductional video on Eiheiji temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism, founded by the monk Dogen in the medieval period.

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 07 May, 2009.

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