GaryCap ConsSepIMG_0114TouchedSepIMG_2632SepgaryNaturalityLgSep

 Gary (Empty Book) Justice is a yoga meditation practitioner, workshop leader, writer and sound artist/musician.  After twenty years of producing music  he studied meditation  in several  systems:  Korean Zen, Shambhala Buddhism, Himalayan Yoga , and Western Guided Therapeutic.  He trained in Indian Classical Dance for eight years with Joanna Desouza and received teaching and Darshan from five Gurus/Masters from Indian, Tibetan and Korean lineages.  

Drawing on these he has facilitated experiential workshops in meditation, chanting, and sound/silence medicine at Buddhist Temples,  Yoga Studios, Healing Arts Schools, and Community Centres, and produced/composed many devotional recordings.

Training  & Practice:

-CYA registered yoga teacher specialized  in meditation, at Samagra Institute – principal teacher Dr. Pradeep Kumar (Jivasu).

– 2011 to Present: Shambhala Warrior Training (the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche)

-2005 to 2011: Indian Classical Dance with Joanna (Das) Desouza

– 2003 to 2007: Beginner’s and advanced meditation courses and retreats  in Korean Zen Chogye Order lineage with Venerable Samu Sunim

-2005-2011: Meditation workshops, retreats, teachings, Darshans and trainings:

Venerable Samu Sunim,  Korean Zen master
H.H. The Dalai Lama, Religious leader of Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism
Bhagavan Das, Bhakti chanting teacher
Sensie Ryokyu Endo, head of Tao Sangha lineage of Japanese Mahayana Buddhism
Sri Matta Amritanandamayi, Hindu Devotional Shakti Teacher and benevolent activist
Baba Ram Dass, Amercian teacher of the Hindupath of service and devotion
Mother Meera, Indian shaktipat teacher
Pema Chodrun, Buddhist teacher and spiritual director of Gampo Abbey Monastery
Molly Swan, Theravadan Buddhist Meditation Teacher
Lama Lhanang Rinpoche, Nyingma Buddhist Lama
Paramahansa Sri Nithyananda, teacher of nondual awareness and successor pontiff of India’s oldest Shiva Lineage
Mangala Anshumati, independent Shaktipat Guru and teacher of enlightenment
Orville Heyn, faculty member at Humber College Music Toronto, master of mindfulness as applied to singing

and others

-1977 to Present: 8 limbs yoga practice

-1974 to Present: Full-time music and recording professioal practice (see http://www.revsound.ca, and http://www.TheSoudOfLight.Yolasite.com)

Meditation Techniques:
Zen

Shamatha /Calm Abiding
Contemplation,
Metta Bhavana,
Vipassana, and
“non-method” / Shaktipat

Chanting Practices:
Korean Zen,
Indian Kirtan & Bhajan,
Vedantic Japa,
Japanese Nembutsu,
Tibeta (Mostly Vajrayana path)

The Long Story

As  a child I had a fairly rich musical education in choral singing, violin, flute, later songwriting, poetry and guitar playing. By age fourteen I had settled into electric bass as a  focus, working with teachers and studying the Berkelee School of Music methods. At 15 years old  I was a founding member of a hard working musical group called Haivein who attempted to merge jazz, rock and western classical approaches.  We received ongoing support from the Etobicoke  Arts council.  At age 17 my bass teacher phoned me from Halifax saying he was about to quit a professional music group he was living and working with, and if I showed up the next morning they would probably hire me.  I responded  by jumping  on a plane from where I lived – 3,000 miles away in Toronto – to Halifax where I undertook my first  full-time engagement with a music performing job that could pay me rent and food.  I “passed the audition”  and we played  all over Maritime Canada, Labrador and Newfoundland.

When I left this group a year later I found myself perpetually on tour in central Canada,  leaping from music job to music job, studying, practicing, living in winnebagos and small hotels for many years before I was able to manoeuvre myself back to Toronto where I could remain involved in music while enjoying a fixed address.

Eventually this lead to performing at some of Canada’s largest (and smallest) music venues, recording in major (and minor) recording studios, becoming a music producer and holding active memberships in the main professional organizations for musicians, recording engineers and songwriters/film composers.  But that’s another story…Later in life  I more consciously pursued spiritual interests.  I found myself in the  regular company of Buddhist monks and other yogis who became practice partners and friends.  Though I had not taken renunciate vows, I came to see the earlier period of my life as a kind of monk’s training in the sense I had renunciated most everyday comforts, and engaged in a transformational practice all day and all night (scales, musical exercises, technique and  repeatedly going deep into a single pursuit of consciousness.

The  playing of music whether practicing or performing was pretty much a form of meditation, certainly one of being in the present, in the moment, alive without beginning or end – as I was later able to appreciate more consciously. Having worked for decades, with the discipline of expression within  aesthetic form,  focused Devotion (to Sound and what is behind sound),  and living under a kind of “vow of poverty”. these had parallels to some of the fundamentals of a renunciate path.

Although I had had a memorable spontaneous opening experience at twelve years old, this awareness and making the connection between music practice and consciousness grew slowly. In my mid 20’s while on the road with a West Indian music group, I was introduced to yoga meditation by  my traveling hotel room-mate  Derry Etkins from Guayana. Yoga meditation became my secondary practice, and stayed with me as I went on to pursue my career as a  music writer, performer, bandleader and recordist for thirty more years, based in Toronto.

Somewhere in there I took a long-ish break from “contemplative” practices until one day I felt I had become  harsh, driven and separated from my life.    In 2003 I took Buddhist Precepts with  Korean Zen Master Samu Sunim, as a lay member of his practicing community, taking the name “Kongcha’ek”  (which means “Empty Book”).  I practiced Zen meditation daily, completed beginner’s and advanced courses in meditation, practiced daily, attended weekly ceremonies and teachings and participated in five-day silent retreats where we did 12 sitting sets daily as well as engaged ritual, chanting and manual labour.

The discipline and clarity were wonderful, even magical, but by 2008 I felt pulled to explore something warmer, gentler, more celebrative. I began to follow teachers of  enlightenment, especially “wordless”  methods like  Darshan.  I  branched out to other forms of sitting sitting meditation, walking meditation, japa and prayer.  I have continued Buddhist training in the  Shambhala Warrior tradition of Chyogyam Trungpa.  I also studied 5 years of Indian Devotional dance with Kathak master Joanna DeSouza, which opened many doors and a deeper awareness of the Indian perspective.

Through practice I have developed a personal approach to  chanting, working with forms of Kirtan (call and answer devotional singing from India),  Japanese Nembutsu (spoken, silent and sung), Heart Sutra *synchronized with wooden Moktak, Chinese Pureland, Korean Three Jewels Practices and several  Sanatana  sampradaya, especially Vishnaism, Shivaism, Yoga and Advaita.  I traced some of these roots and practiced with renunciates and everyday people during a pilgrimage to the Himalayas of India in 2011.

Participated in personal training, residential retreats and workshops with various “awake” teachers, some listed above.

I stayed with each of my teachers from two to five years over a twenty-year period and eventually developed a practice based on influences from Buddhism, Himalayan yoga and upanishad Hinduism.

I hold these teachings in my heart.These paths have been merging into one awareness of something beautiful that runs through all things.  Through direct experience one can come to appreciate  the One Thing that all masters are pointing to,  each using their own language.

In all we do we want to love, to be loved and to arrive home – together.  This is a love that goes deeper than “relationship” love, or a”species” or “tribal” love. It means “all beings”, and their faceless source.  And it is partly through our “relationship love” that we explore this journey – but there is more to it.

From time to time I lead and co-lead workshops and group experiences in ritual, yoga, chanting and meditation, and otherwise dedicate myself to article writing and music/sound creation through my music and audio production company http://www.REVsound.ca.

Besides music/sound projects and daily practice, I write articles, sit on the editorial board of the Toronto Body Mind web site and occasionally on music/audio judging panels such as FACTOR (the Foundation To Assist Canadian Talent On Record), and try to support sincere spiritual groups I encounter however I can.