Meditation and Koans
The best way to learn about meditation and koans is to try them. In this section of the website you can learn more about these things and get some guidance in trying them out. We also invite you to join us at a PZI event or a koan group to discover more and get the benefit of practicing in the company of other people.
After 20 years of teaching koans in a classical way, John Tarrant, the founder of PZI, developed a new way of teaching koans in a setting that requires no experience with meditation or Zen. The emphasis is on taking one step into freedom. Everything we do in PZI is directed to that end.
A few words from PZI teachers on koans and meditation:
John Tarrant —
Koan meditation is a way of showing up for your own life. You sit or work or talk and don’t add anything to it. You don’t criticize anything your mind offers. You don’t need to assess or improve the moment. And if you are criticizing the moment or your own state of mind, you don’t criticize that. In that way compassion appears. That way you show up for your own life.
The ancient wisdom of Zen koans tells how to make room in your life for the unaccountable. You don’t have to worry your way through a predicament; it’s more like when you hear music and your body just dances. Koans are a great treasure that anyone can bring to life. They can show how to be at home in the universe including your own skin and situation.
Suffering is basically the thought, “This isn’t it.” Reasons to be unhappy can be very convincing. There is nothing wrong with worrying, scheming and hanging on for dear life, but it’s a narrow life. There is another way to live—you can live down a level where the obstacles are gates and the richness of life is already present.
David Weinstein —
A while back there was a conversation about what koans do and somebody said they ‘untie our shoelaces.’ I liked that. We have the ‘shoelaces’ of our life all tied up nice and neat, based on the way we think things are, and hanging out with a koan will untie that knot and we may very well trip and fall into a whole new way of experiencing things.
So, I’d have to say that the practice helps both with the falling down and the standing up.