Put Out the Fire – A Panel on Koan Practice & Pain

Roshi Jon Joseph assembled a panel of 4 PZI meditators, who deal with various experiences of chronic and severe pain. Koan meditation has helped all of them to find a way to allow the pain in – not to exclude it, and to see it as a profound teacher and ally. As recorded May 31, 2021.

Meditation: Put Out That Fire across the River

An 18-minute guided koan meditation with Jesse Cardin Roshi of PZI & Awakened Insight in San Antonio, Texas.

10,000 Kalpa Fire

Morning dharma talk by Allison Atwill in Winter Sesshin. As recorded January 16, 2018.

Audio Excerpt: The Great Temple Fire & Nothing Destroyed with Allison Atwill

PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon. Fire & Radiance with Allison Atwill Roshi. As recorded Aug 30 2020.

10,000 Kalpa Fire!

PZI Zen – Winter Sesshin 2018. Allison Atwill on her narrow escape from Fire in Montecito CA.

Music for Guanyin’s Pavilion of Fire – Michael Wilding on Sax

Audio: Michael Wilding on Saxophone playing his original composition during Allison Atwill’s meditation and dharma talk on Guanyin as fire. This is a new recording sans the variables of bandwidth. A gift from Michael to PZI. Thank you!

Ancestors and Fires

John’s monthly talk at SRCZC, November 2019. The time of year for ghosts, memories.

Fire…Living at the Corner of Lucky and Unlucky

“Koan: Two monks roll up the blinds in exactly the same way. The teacher looks at them and says, ‘One gains, one loses.'” October 17, 2017.

Stop the Fire Across the River

Allison presents a talk on another miscellaneous Koan, “Stop the fire across the river.” This is like stopping the war within ourselves: where does this fire arise within us and what form does it take? Passion, anger, demons, delusions all take form within us.

Allison demonstrates the possibility of working with the fire of anger through humor and diligent practice and attention to what flares up within the body. January 22, 2014.

Serenity on Fire

“Two swords are crossed, there’s no way to retreat; you’re a lotus in the fire, you can’t help it – you’re determined to go higher.”

John talks about the concept of enlightenment and serenity, and managing to love and appreciate the inner life of the mind.

Meet the Blue Dragon

In forty years, the earth itself, beyond our control, and human violence, also beyond our control, will have changed all our assumptions. Even so, what do I want the teachings to be?

The World Catches Us Every Time

Distraction can have a long arc, and until the end of the story, you can’t say what’s a distraction and what’s a calling.

You Don’t Have to Know

It’s easy to forget to be curious, and to grab an off-the-shelf knowledge, something like “This is awful.” Not reaching for off-the-shelf understandings, though, is an important skill.

Let Me Count the Ways

Love is an enlightenment story available to everyone, and that story includes being attacked by demons as well as being showered with roses. If we widen our gaze, in love, we discover what we like about ourselves and how we want to live our lives.

Enter Here, Step Through

Day two of 2018 Winter Sesshin. John Tarrant introduces the great koan “No,” a gift from the ancestors. The gift is what happens when we hang out with the koan. “No” as the purest gate. When we step through, we find out we’re here! It’s not personal, you’re harmonizing with the universe. Transcript from a recording on January 17, 2018.

Surprises on the Way: Article by John Tarrant

Meditation offers a path out of the burning house, without abandoning the promise and good-heartedness of being human. Practice is the last best hope of living up to that good-heartedness, the only thing that never hurts and usually helps. And even at the beginning of the meditation path, on a good day it’s exciting. It actually makes you happy.

End of Sesshin Dedication

PZI Sesshin Dedication, generally read (or sung) at the end of sesshin to send participants on their way, in joy.

The Great Turning – Solstice, Juneteenth, a Butterfly Flies Up!

John Tarrant’s Sunday morning Meditation & Talk: “So we rely on the spaciousness, we rely on not what we’ve already planned and schemed but we rely on what’s been opened up in our hearts. So even a time of torpor or a time when plans come apart, or we thought the culture was going in one way and it’s going in another. We can rely on that.” Transcript from PZI Zen Online recording from June 21, 2020.

Free & Easy Wandering Series: Knock on Any Door

Allison Atwill & Tess Beasley are guest hosts in John Tarrant’s Free & Easy Wandering Series. They each tell a story of being at a threshold—knocking on doors not knowing who would answer, and how the gifts of the universe appeared. PZI Zen Online, as recorded May 30, 2021. Vows with Jordan McConnell. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding archived separately.

How to Defeat the Enemy

Turning your thoughts upside down is almost always progress, especially with conflicts that seem old and full of certainty. Article by John Tarrant published in Lion’s Roar magazine June 9, 2009.

Self and Ox Forgotten

Jon Joseph Roshi, Director of San Mateo Zen, considers the 8th Ox-herding picture along with a verse from 12th century poet Kuon Shihyuan. What happens if Ox and Self disappear? PZI Zen Online. As recorded May 3, 2021.

One Day, My Child, All This Will Be Yours

Australia’s ancient forests were burning in September 2020. In the face of unfathomable loss John Tarrant writes, “It’s too early to despair, it’s always too early to despair. The world itself is a mystery school and teaches us what it needs. It gives us impossible tasks and impossible journeys, and all we can say is that we love the world without knowing outcomes, because it is the only world we have, and because we never do know outcomes.” Article for Lion’s Roar magazine, published September 14, 2020.

Taking Part in the Gathering

This is 8th century Zen ancestor Shitou Xiqian’s great song, the Sandokai—or Taking Part in the Gathering, as translated by Joan Sutherland and John Tarrant. This foundational text is often read at Winter Solstice. “When you let these words in, you encounter the ancestors.” Winter Sesshin January, 2020.

The Names and Shapes of Things

Bandicoots, wombats, and numbats surely do look as you would expect anything with such a name might, and there’s something wondrous about that. Musings and poem on how the world appears from silence, John Tarrant Roshi.

Freely I Watch the Tracks of the Flying Birds

Everybody, every time, has its own difficulty and crisis. This is ours. We can trust our own lives that brought us here, and perhaps we have something to do here. And we don’t know what that is but we’ll find it as we keep walking. The thing about the meditation path is, I don’t have to think a lot about what’s mine to do. You just give yourself to the meditation, and it’s produced for you. It’s given to you. The path opens by itself, you know. Transcript of PZI Zen Online Sunday Talk with John Tarrant, recorded March 29 2020.

A True Person of No Rank, No Color, No Gender: Seeing Through All Distinctions

I was thinking about history and beauty and what an old old thing human suffering is, and how intrinsic it is. And we keep making things better and then they keep getting worse, and we’re making them better and they get worse. I guess I just wanted to say that it’s really good to have a practice at any time. Meditate—it will help. You will come from a position of peace rather than just fighting yourself. Being yourself, the true person, no rank. Transcript of PZI Zen Online Sunday Dharma Talk with John Tarrant Roshi, recorded June 7, 2020.

The Everlasting Body Runs Deepest Indigo: Meditation for Troubled Times

PZI Zen Online Transcript: It’s a very strong thing to be human, you can be subjected to all sorts of great forces. And sometimes you can win through, and sometimes you die. But we’re all of us doing that, all the time. So I was thinking about friendship and how good it is to love each other and how good it is to have friends and to make peace in our hearts to meet each other. Sunday talk with John Tarrant, recorded June 14 2020.

Dharma Theme: Immensity is Tapping – Zen Tuesdays

PZI Dharma Theme: Four PZI Guanyins reappear for Zen Tuesdays in October. They marvel at the immensity in all things from various perspectives. Drawing inspiration from Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “Tree,” The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” a golden crowned sparrow, a remarkable brother’s life, and more. Excerpts and complete audio sessions as recorded in October 2020.

The Nature of Practice

Practice. The notion of practice, as something you embody, and you walk through, and you are—rather than something you add, like something added to gasoline. There’s also a sense of moving in the dark, in some way that’s positive. So that in a practice, “not knowing” is on your side.

Zen Tuesdays: Doors of Perception with Allison Atwill

PZI Zen Online: Allison Atwill Roshi’s Zen Tuesday dharma talk. The immensity of sound as it permeates all barriers. Cracks showing in our traditions and conventions, trying to get back to the old imperfect life. Jim Morrison and The Doors offer up “Light My Fire” as rendered on the Ed Sullivan show. As recorded Oct 12 2020.

New at Pacific Zen Institute

News

New to Pacific Zen Institute? – Welcome!

WELCOME! At PZI we’re creating a culture of transformation through meditation, koans, conversation, and the arts. Explore and connect in PZI Zen Online events, our extensive Koans and Liberation Project Archive (KALPA), and more.

Events

Register: Crooked Fishing, Straight Hook – Meditation & Talk with Jon Joseph

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 20th
PZI Zen Online: 6pm PDT
The Universe

Events

Register: The Visible & Invisible Companionship of Animals – Meditations with John Tarrant

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 26th
PZI Digital Temple: 10:30am 
PDT The Universe

Events

October Open Temple: Meditation Temple Pass – Daily Community Practice

DAILY, OCTOBER 1-31
PZI Digital Temple
The Universe

Audio Recording

A Spell for Passing Through Danger – Turning Into the Difficulty with John Tarrant

You have to go through it otherwise you can’t have real resolution. Not fighting the difficulty of things and orienting yourself to the infinite. “A person on a raft flows on the stream by throwing themselves away.” The importance of the smallest things in the this-is-it dream. September 11, 2021.

Events

Register: PZI Talk LIVE! Further Conversations on Metamorphosis with Gaffney & Hitchcock

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 21st
PZI Zen Online: 5pm PDT
The Universe

Events

October Intensive: October Is Open Temple Month – A Month of Deep Practice Together

OCTOBER INTENSIVE 1-30
PZI Digital Temple: 10:30am 
The Universe

Events

Register: Fall Sesshin with John Tarrant & Friends – Metamorphosis

SIX DAYS: OCTOBER 19-24
The PZI Digital Temple: 4:30pm
PDT The Universe

Audio Recording

Where Do Songs Come From? – A Musical Conversation with Jordan McConnell & Jesse Cardin

Musicians Jordan McConnell and Jesse Cardin join Jon Joseph to share elements of musical practice and their creative relatedness to koan work.

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