Sounds Of Silence

"Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again. Because a vision softly creeping Left it's seed while I was sleeping, And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sounds of silence."

I woke up at 2am this morning. Staring at those old pictures in the wall. Faces of old WCK friends, old manuscripts, old Kuen Kuit's.... They ran across my mind. One by one they surfaced, only to fade away again and leave me in the silence .....

In Zen, it was said that:

It is the space between the bars that traps the tiger. It is the silence between Sounds which makes the music...

In Wing Chun Kuen, it was said that:

It is the power of clean Niem that givse birth to the Siu Niem Tau.

What is the use in having Beethoven's original copy of music if one can't read music? Sure, with Beethoven's original copy of music one can be an antique collector... But, not a musician.

Can a person who imitates a part of Beethoven's music be a master of music? Can there be a formula to follow to create the best music in the world? Not to mention those who think they know not the silence.

In the old time, it was said that only after poking out ten thousand spear strikes can one an have small understanding about the spear. Anyone who is good with kicks knows that without throwing a few thousand kicks one doesn't know how to use the leg properly. There is no short cut formula.

There is a Chinese from a great master of music:

"I won't sell you this gong even though you think this gong is the best in the world because I made it. Five hundred years from today if there is one single person who knows music, he will laugh at me. And he will say I was cheating."

I guess that is the attitude of an artist, a master, in the ancient time.

The ultimate or the Dao of music is what they are looking for. Personal reputation has little to do with the ultimate of the music. Lineage has little to do with the ultimate of music.

Who is Beethoven's sifu? Which lineage was Beethoven is from? Will Beethoven's student be the best? Will Beethoven's student become better than him?

In Zen, Sometimes, sifu learns from the student because the student achieves enlightenment earlier. The sifu might know more but the student "sees the Buddha nature earlier". The following is a stanza on how a student tries to hint to his sifu without offending the sifu. (The students appeared to be speaking the stanza to a fly but was actually hinting to his sifu who was studying the scripture diligently.)

"The open door you won't go out. Crashing your head into the window's paper is too ignorant. Hundreds of years of drilling into the old window paper. When are you going to get out of here?"

What the student means is:

"The Buddha nature is everywhere but you don't realize. Mistaking a finger pointing at the moon for the moon is just not wise. You can spent you whole life studying those old scripture and the formulas and believe your lineage is the oldest. But when are you going to see the Buddha nature? "

"And the people bowed and prayed To the neon gods they made. And the sign flashed out its warning, In the words that it was forming, And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls And tenement halls." And whispered in the sounds of silence."

About the Author

Hendrik Santo began learning the Wing Chun Kuen of Cho Hung-Choy in Malasia in the 1970s. Since then, he has spent much time researching both the nature of the art and the nature of Buddhism.