The "Meaning" of Buddhist Taiko-From Hou-u: Dharma
Rain, vol.2, No 2, 1997-By Reverend Arthur Takemoto
"The uniqueness of Buddhist taiko comes from its being developed
by Japanese American Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, inculcating the Japanese, Indian, American Indian, and Afro-American influences into its pieces. Because of this background, Buddhist
Taiko is quite different from Matsuri Taiko (Fesitval Taiko) that is commonly practiced in Japan.
It is not unusual to find a drum at a Buddhist Temple.
These drums are called "Ho-ko" or "Dharma Drum." These drums symbolize the "commanding voice of the Buddha."
Given this "meaning" of the drum, the expression of Buddhist
Taiko is also unique because it becomes a way in which one can enjoy the buddha-dharma, or what is referred to as "Horaku"
(joy or delight of the Dharma.) In Buddhist Taiko, the drum, from its "Ho-ko" meaning becomes the Amida Buddha
that sounds throughout the ten directions of the Universe. The drummer becomes part of the Sangha or the body of "players"
that despite their delusions or attachments to the world of birth and death (Samsara) become able to hear Namo Amida Butsu
The "bachi" or sticks, become the Dharma or the link between
the realm of enlightenment and the human realm of birth and death. Buddhist Taiko becomes the three treasures of Buddha,
Dharma, and Sangha working and revealing itself to us. Because of this fact, the joy that can be found in taiko becomes
the joy of hearing the Buddha-Dharma.
To perform becomes an expression of one's joy and gratitude
at being able to hear and receive that which is most difficult to hear and receive. It is for this reason that this
joy, Horaku, is accompanied by a sense of deep respect and reverance....On the other hand, when one disregards the Buddha,
Dharma, and Sangha, disharmony and discord result. This is reflected in the performance. The performance becomes
filled with ego, and the harmony that can be found in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha dissappears.
Hence, Buddhist Taiko represents the beauty and joy
of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha working harmoniously, or represents the discord that can result when the ego works in opposition
to the Buddha and Dharma and becomes more important than the Sangha...the primary purpose and goal of each taiko player and
the listener is to teach and learn the Dharma by being embraced in both body and mind to the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma,
dwell on the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment."--Buddha
Nemo dat quod non habet.
"You cannot give what you do not have."
"Don't worry about tomorrow. It is already
tomorrow in Australia....Charlie Schultz