The Art Of Mindfulness with Philip Toshio Sudo

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If you were to think of integrating the principles of Zen Buddhism into music, punk rock would probably not be part of the equation. Philip Toshio Sudo, a musician and longtime practitioner of Zen, chose to play punk rock because "the technique is secondary to the passion and intensity of the performance." The type of music you prefer is not, however, what's important; what is important is the method Sudo has developed for bringing that passion and intensity to anything you want to learn. He learned through teaching guitar that the principles of Zen--being mindful of what you're doing, getting in tune, finding your place within the group, letting go of the outcome and following through--bring a deeper spiritual element into learning any craft. We all have a song we were born to sing, says Sudo and he offers us keys to call it forth; "If the song is strong enough, it will find a way to come out." (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Sudo began playing guitar as a child in Japan, developing what he was later to label his "Zen Guitar" teaching from performing in the streets, parks, and subways of New York City. In 1993, he became an official musician of the New York City Marathon.

He is the author of:

  • Zen Guitar (Simon & Schuster 1997)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Doing what your heart tells you
  • How to do it right--right now
  • Why the path of Zen Guitar is really the path of life itself
  • What to do when you reach a plateau-pushing through the wall
  • What distinguishes punk rock from other types of music
  • How to combine the best of all worlds
  • The four steps on the path to Zen Guitar
  • Growing up bi-culturally
  • Life as a street musician in New York
  • The true art of achieving mastery
  • Why it matters so very much to follow through
Host: Justine Willis Toms       Interview Date: 4/10/1997        Program Number: 2624