Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kyudo transcripts

Yesterday, I picked up an mp3 version of an old cassette-tape recording of a talk given by my Zen teacher, Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi, who died in 2007. The cassette needed some audio attention, so I paid to have it attended to. I had thought it was a tape of an interview I had done with him in aid of an article that appeared in a magazine called "The Sun," but instead it turned out to be a talk he had given at the now-defunct Soho Zendo in New York City. No matter ... with the help of a friend, perhaps the mp3 can be put on the internet for those who might want to listen.

OK, so I had the mp3. But then I went to the grungy old file box on the porch and discovered three transcripts of similar talks. One was the mp3 material. The other two were different talks. And now, for reasons that escape me, I figure I will type them all up, all neat and clean, to hook up on the internet. I don't look forward to all that typing, but somehow I feel the imperative.

What escapes me is why. Is it because Kyudo was some great Zen master and his words are deathless indicators of the Dharma or some shit like that? Is it because I somehow feel I owe him? Is it because I loved him? Is it because, among other things, he agreed when I asked to change my Dharma name from Kigen (original or first man) to Genkaku (original understanding or original realization) ... wily bastard! Is it because I haven't got anything better to do? Is it because the historical record deserves something more human than a Wikipedia entry? Is it because of some imagined and oh-so-important lineage in Zen Buddhism? I can hear Kyudo laughing his ass off in my mind at all these speculations ... don't be a jackass, Adam! I would like to think there was a 'good' reason for typing the transcripts up, but every reason falls flat in my mind ... and still I feel the imperative.

A past I almost never think about comes back to remind me, somehow. On the one hand, "Zen Buddhism? Don't be a fucking bore!" On the other hand, there is no denying the time and energy once devoted to Zen Buddhism. Is there some reason I shouldn't treat it with a congenial respect? No .... But then I come around to the fact that it's not Zen Buddhism that is boring; it's the fact that I am boring ... running around trying to find 'meaning' or a 'reason' or a 'profound meaning' or an 'explanation' or some similar self-serving shit. What kind of an idiotic Zen student is that?!

OK ... I'll stop whining and start typing now. I have Kyudo's guffaws to keep me company.


  1. I can offer to assist in publishing the mp3 online, on this site or elsewhere.

  2. Thank you, anonymous ... though how I could be in touch with "anonymous" is a bit vague in my mind. :) In any event, I believe things are in the works ... we'll see how that turns out.

    I decided after review not to transcribe the other two talks. They were too herky-jerky and associative -- stuff that would be clear enough in a zendo setting, but makes reading stilted and difficult.

    Thanks again.

  3. I would suggest uploading the mp3 to so it can be preserved. I wish more of these ephermeral talks by modern teachers that various students have mouldering away were preserved somewhere. The Internet Archive has a mandate to preserve information and they will host the mp3 (and allow people to play it or link to it) for free.