Our Q’s & A’s of love and Zen, from The Ink Dark Moon Sunday session. In Zen nothing is excluded. Turning toward everything, even what doesn’t fit with our description of reality. We long to be seen as we truly are and are equally terrified of the possibility of being found. What your heart longs for is in your life now! Audio excerpt, as recorded Feb. 14 2021, PZI Zen Online.
Allison Atwill explores cases against life and love, the ways we block the universe’s gifts—and how we “abide somewhere” by clinging to lack. Or, we hang on to what we have like Deshan and his commentaries. We want to be included, “to feel beloved on earth.” Where is love in Zen? Included! Audio excerpt from The Ink Dark Moon. As recorded Feb. 14 2021, PZI Zen Online.
Atwill, Riddle & Beasley give us The Ink Dark Moon – stories of Zen and Love on Valentine’s Day. Complete session with music and The Four Boundless Vows. Jordan McConnell plays Love Me Tender. As recorded Feb. 14th 2021, PZI Zen Online. 59 minutes.
Music for meditation during Atwill, Riddle & Beasley’s The Ink Dark Moon. A Valentine’s Day day gift from musician Jordan McConnell. Audio excerpt as recorded Feb. 14 2021, PZI Zen Online.
Value a sort of play and see if you can break the koan—the koan will be amused. And see it and let it into your heart, and see what comes, or follow it around, or have it follow you. And finally you’ll realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m free.”
John Tarrant gives a talk during Summer Retreat: July 14, 2014.
John opens the first evening at summer retreat talking about the spirit of a koan. We were nestled in the lovely redwood mountains of Land of the Medicine Buddha in Soquel California. We were meditating, walking and diving into the great koan, Sickness and Medicine. It is based on a koan which goes like this, “Sickness and Medicine are in accord with each other. The whole world is medicine, what am I?” July 14, 2014.
How does the bodhisattva of compassion use all those hands and eyes? In some way, through the vastness of hands and eyes, the koan speaks of the vast currents of the universe that carry and hold us. John Tarrant’s morning meditation & talk, Part 1 of this two-session Dragons of the Blue Cliff 1-Day Retreat. In the PZI Digital Temple, as recorded June 6, 2021.
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.
What is the journey for? What is it to have this life? We’re in it—it’s so marvelous, so overwhelming and so incomprehensible. You’ll find, I think, that you can’t stand back from it and answer that question. So the “good day” is just how it is. It’s like the gift of the universe, and you’re in the universe, having received the gift. Transcript of John Tarrant’s dharma talk in Winter Sesshin 2020.
“In even the simplest life, pain and disappointment accumulate—and at some moment everyone longs to walk through a gate and leave the past behind, perhaps for an earlier time when the colors were bright and the heart carried no weight. The quest for a fresh start is so fundamental that it defines the shape of the stories we tell each other.” Article by John Tarrant published in Lion’s Roar magazine on July 1, 2007.
John Tarrant begins with a wild Daoist story from the Zhuangzi, about a giant fish named Kun. The freedom is in your own breast and the koan path opens the way. Includes meditation segments, music from Michael Wilding, vows from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor. PZI Zen Online. As recorded May 2, 2021.
Conversation is itself a kind of meditation, a way we can accompany each other through life. We can share errors, painful mistakes, dreams, losses, discoveries, or just the ordinary glowing things. That’s a good day. Article by John Tarrant published in Lion’s Roar magazine February 18, 2014.
It’s important not to discount the idea that in a crisis, you might be having the time of your life. Article by John Tarrant, published in Lion’s Roar magazine on March 23, 2018.
To turn toward the difficult thing is usually a move of compassion. We think it’ll be a fierce warrior move, but it’s not, actually. And when we turn toward what’s difficult, it becomes mysterious and unknown and strange and interesting. Whatever it is, your dilemma—if you turn toward that, it’s to let the koan be there. So we stop trying to flee. And suddenly we’re at peace, and instead of it being the thing that we don’t want to do, it’s the gateway into freedom.
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.
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.
Tess Beasley asks, “What is it to meet things?” as she introduces The Ink Dark Moon – stories on Meetings, Love, and Zen. Love brings something forth in us. We stop into noticing and find ourselves within the vast, strange territory of love. Poems from Kyoto’s Golden Age. The beauty of longing, missing, loss. Dokusan, the meeting without barriers between student and teacher. Audio excerpt from The Ink Dark Moon. As recorded Feb. 14th 2021, PZI Zen Online.
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.
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.
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.
Zen is about meetings, the courage to meet and be a friend. Even the gnarly bits of friendship are part of it, the mystery of connection. You don’t have to be good at love—better to be in it. In the field of connectedness we discover things we can’t discover on our own. Audio excerpt from Sunday with John Tarrant, Handing Things on in the Dark, PZI Zen Online. As recorded Jan. 31, 2021. 18 minutes.
PZI Zen Online 1-Day Retreat: On the Banks of the Ghost River. Morning session with John Tarrant Roshi & Tess Beasley Sensei. John Reads the Ballad of Tam Lin in which a brave girl helps her lover, caught in the Faery Queens’s caterhaugh (boggy fen), transform. Dharma talk and comments from participants. Complete session. As recorded Oct 31 2020.
PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from morning session of PZI One-day Retreat, On the Banks of the Ghost River with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley. John Reads the Ballad of Tam Lin in which a brave girl helps her lover, caught in the Faery Queens’s caterhaugh (boggy fen), transform. As recorded Oct 31 2020. Complete 2-part session also available.
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.
PZI Zen Online – Hanging Lanterns series – One treasure deep in the cosmos and in you. Seeing, feeling being inhabited by the one light in all things. The eternity in things. Treasure in the simplest things. Zhaozhou meets a practitioner. These are our times – love the treasure in them. Michelle Riddle – vows, Michael Wilding – sax, Amaryllis – violin. As recorded Oct 11 2020.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 13: The link between the koan and the transformation of your life is real, but since the process isn’t linear you might not notice it at first. The link might seem to be in a black box—invisible.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 17: A variant of this discovery is that falling on the ground, while terrible, is also wonderful—the taste of dirt, blood, coffee, oranges, tears, sweat—the taste of life itself.
Zenosaurus: My Kaiser doc with solemn demeanor sent me to be scanned for cancer on the bone. I could tell the docs thought it was a likely outcome, and while I didn’t believe they were right, my mind did play the scenarios all by itself, without instruction from me.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 18: Gratitude comes with a feeling of openness, shyness, vulnerability. The person who is grateful can be hurt or rejected, she is taking a risk. With gratitude, there is more at stake, life is not small.