Watazumi Sensei, Shakuhachi Master, and Soen Nakagawa Roshi,
Attic Zendo, Beecher Lake, Catskills, New York, Summer 1972
© photo Harry McCormick
During the summer 1972 sesshin in the attic zendo at Dai Bosatsu, Watazumi Sensei, shakuhachi master and friend of Soen Roshi, played his giant bamboo flutes in the morning and in the evening. He played in front of the altar, and Soen Roshi faced him. It was quite dramatic. Watazumi Sensei's flutes ranged in size from a three- or four-inches long instrument, to a giant one, three-feet long and four inches in diameter which was so large that he had to hold it on the bottom with his feet.
It was my job to drive Watazumi Sensei and his wife up and down the hill from the SunMoon Cottage where they slept, to the lodge house. Watazumi Sensei told me that he would play his flute in order to wake me up every morning. When Soen Roshi heard about this, he was really mad. He said: "Shogetsu! He is the teacher and you are the student. You are supposed to be up before him." I said, "But, Roshi, he wakes up at three o' clock in the morning!" He said, "It doesn't matter. You should get up first." After that, Soen Roshi ran me ragged. I think he decided that I was too attached to sleep, and every time I would lie down in my tent or anywhere, I would hear his deep voice calling me to help him with one task or another. I did find that I did not need to rest as much as I thought, and the tasks were always fun.