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Contemplative Life
12995 N. Oracle Rd.
Suite 141-405
Tucson, Arizona 85739

Robert Jonas

Robert A Jonas is director of a small contemplative Christian retreat center in Watertown, MA.called The Empty Bell ( He is an active member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies ( In the past, the Empty Bell has sponsored many Christian-Buddhist dialogues in the Northeastern U.S. As a Christian musician, Jonas travels to Protestant, Catholic and Unitarian churches and retreat houses to play shakuhachi and to co-lead contemplative retreats with Buddhist teachers. In what must be a high point for any Sui-Zen player, in 1998 Jonas played shakuhachi (Jimbo Sanya) at a Buddhist-Christian retreat with the Dalai Lama, held beneath the Bodhi tree where Buddha was enlightened 2500 years ago. Jonas has published several book reviews and contributed to anthologies of spirituality. He is author of Rebecca: A Father's Journey from Grief to Gratitude (Crossroad) and Henri Nouwen: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Robert A. Jonas (Orbis). He is currently working on a book about his travels with the shakuhachi. While sincerely honoring the shakuhachi's Buddhist roots, Jonas plays the instrument from the heart of Christian prayer. Where Sui-Zen players may seek "to become Buddha in one sound", Christian shakuhachi players might, in each blowing breath, surrender into their identity as children of God, having the mind of Christ. For Buddhists, the sometimes messy musical overtones of Sui-Zen express the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, in which the opposites of order and chaos come together. For Christians, these same breathy overtones might remind us of the paradox of Holy Week, in which the ugliness and shame of Good Friday are held in tension with the blessing and beauty of the Resurrection. The silence between each honkyoku note invites Buddhists into the profound interdependence of emptiness and compassion. This same silence invites Christians into a state that the 5th century Christian mystic Pseudo-Dyonysius called "the dazzling darkness of God".

Blowing Bamboo - Robert A. Jonas
Product ID : 9100
On this CD, Robert A. Jonas plays several versions of Sui-Zen pieces. Jonas...
Price:  $12.95