As a young, up and coming electrical engineer living in England, Ray Brooks had everything he could want--a high paying job, late nights, and fast cars. All he was missing in his life was the meaning. A series of events brought him to Japan, where he met a man who played the shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese flute. That fortuitous interaction motivated Brooks to embark on a journey to learn this very difficult instrument. Through playing the shakuhachi, he began to understand the Zen discipline that is a crucial aspect of Japanese culture. This understanding greatly changed his outlook on life, putting him in touch with his authentic self. Blowing Zen's humor and its irresistible story of cultures converging lets the underlying message come through without preachiness: life is about finding your true calling, not just what brings you superficial joy. Brooks' spontaneous approach to the collaboration of art, mind, body, and spirit is inspiring and instructive. This uplifting memoir has been entrancing readers since its release in 2000, and it is now being re-released with a new chapter and lots of photographs. This is the expanded and revised edition with photos.
About the Author
Ray Brooks, a British musician, composer, writer and teacher, is internationally known in the world of shakuhachi music. He has studied with Japanese shakuhachi masters, learned to play a variety of wind instruments (such as the Balinese Suling flute), mastered circular breathing under the tutelage of Tibetan monks, and studied tabla with an Indian master. He has held small solo shakuhachi concerts in Zen temples throughout Japan and has performed with Akikazu Nakamura, Japan's premier flute player. Ray has been interviewed by NHK television in Japan and various radio stations in Canada and Europe. He gives workshops in breath work, speaks about the effect of Zen on his life, and performs concerts at Zen centers, Buddhist gatherings, universities, music academies, and spiritual centers throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada. His most recent CD, entitled Hollow Bell, on the New Albion label, includes all the pieces of music mentioned in Blowing Zen. An avid traveler, Ray has journeyed throughout the Far East, walked the world's highest valley in the Himalayas, and trekked through the mountains of Northern India and Nepal. He now lives in Victoria, B.C. with his wife, Dianne.