PZI Dharma Theme: “Guanyin Manifesting in the Elements: Space, Earth, Water, Air, Fire.” A Dharma Theme? It’s a gathering, a curation of events from our vast KALPA library, based in a theme that is current in our online sessions and practice. We’re offering a compilation of various types of files: transcript, audio, art, music, and video—all from PZI teachers.
PZi Zen Online, Audio Excerpt – Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon -The winged pavilion of summer. The various ways compassion can manifest. Water offers compassion at unfathomable depths and in reflections. As recorded Aug 16 2020.
PZI Zen Online – Audio: Fiery Guanyin in the butterfly tent with open wings. Allison reminds us of all the elemental manifestations of Guanyin as Space, Earth, Water, Air, and finally Fire. Guanyin manifests solutions from unseen space in any situation that is deemed unfixable. Fire is an ancient symbol of transformation but also shows itself through Gunayin as the inner radiance of all things. Every appearance has its own brightness. The koan of the great temple fire of Engaku-ji Temple in Kamakura, in which everything was burned and yet nothing was destroyed. One of the 100 Samurai Koans. As recorded, with Michael Wilding on flute. Aug 30, 2020
Audio: PZI Zen Online – Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon with Sarah Bender Roshi manifesting Guanyin as air with ‘Breath Sweeps Mind’ and the call and response we employ meeting her compassionate nature. Appropriate response is Guanyin’s territory. Fayan’s …’the fresh breeze that arises when the great burden is set down.’ Sarah presents her field notes on Guanyin as wind, breath, release, and the Sutra of Endless Life. Michael Wilding on flute, Ryan McCoy on 4 vows, vocals and guitar. As recorded August 23 2020
Audio: Guanyin in the Pavilion with Tess Beasley. Guanyin’s watery nature. Water: ‘the softest compound that can overwhelm the hardest’. Compassion dissolves and connects us. The ‘call and response’ of our relationship to Guanyin. A force greater than any striving. Like Buddha at the brink of starvation opening to the offering of milk. We can’t know how she will call us or what our response will be. The great intimacy & spaciousness of abiding nowhere together. She enters when we need a new path. Michael Wilding on flute, Jordan McConnell guitar, Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor on violin. Aug.16 2020.
Audio – PZI Zen Online – Guanyin in the Pavilion with Michelle Riddle Sensei -Touching earth as Guanyin. Falling – Layman Pang and his daughter Ling Zhao fall together. The subtle and varied flavor of Guanyin’s manifestations – her/his shape/form/gender shifting qualities. As recorded August 9 2020. Michael Wilding on flute, Jordan Guitar. Amaryllis Fletcher, violin.
PZI Zen Online – We are in a time ‘before moonlight’ with covid and massive unemployment that has resulted- with great unknowns ahead. Dreams in zen are not so different from waking life. We make up stories about what will happen. But we are passing through a gate of meeting and not recognizing. How do you make your way? Step by step. As recorded May 25.
Allison relays the story of the encounter between Manjushri and Vimalakirti. Manjushri, among the 32,000 Bodhisattvas sent by Buddha to Vimalakirti’s , and asks him on his sick bed: ‘How do the Bodhisattvas enter the gate of non-duality?’ The response is an intimate silence. Allison’s story includes the karmic path that his daughter, Moon Like Beauty bore on her way to enlightenment.
We have such a passion to know and to be certain but, in practice, much of what we think of as knowledge is just untested thoughts. As the Heart Sutra says, even thoughts are empty, and if we are willing not to know, willing to walk through life without believing every thought that rises, then we’ll find a path out of suffering.
Roshi John Tarrant gives the third of three koans for Bare Bones retreat. The head of the koan is: “What is the sharpest sword or the sword which will cut even the finest piece of hair in two?” The response to the question is, “Each branch of coral holds up the moon.” February 22, 2013.
Allison Atwill Sensei describes the making of her amazing art piece inspired by the koan, “Each Branch of Coral Holds Up the Moon.” January 24, 2013.
One of the places I think this really appears for me that I find interesting is, if I take that koan view of there’s not really a ground for this, it’s all coming up out of the vastness, it appears like the moonlight, it’s just there. I didn’t make it appear.
I think this is a time when things are kind of changing and incredibly uncertain, and that fidelity to what’s really true to us is important and valuable. And we don’t have to pretend that when difficulties are here, they’re not here. But also, we don’t have to pretend that they cancel the illumination, because nothing does, really. Even if we’re dying, the brightness of life is still there. And after we’re dead, we’ll worry about that later, [laughs] when the time comes in the bardos.
PZI Zen Online- Audio Excerpt from Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon – Saving houses from fire – Allison’s stories of fiery compassion and radiance. As recorded August 30 2020.
PZI Zen Online Audio Excerpt- Guantin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon – The call and response of compassionate exchanges – air as breath of life. Anchored in the Heart Sutra. Dream of a room, barely there full of gifts for all times and places. As recorded August 23 2020.
PZI Zen Online Audio Excerpt – Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon – Fire & Radiance. As recorded Aug 30
Just at this moment, the whole universe is holding us up. It’s nice for it to have a good job like that. That’s the thing that Master Ma said, the great master Mazu, “At a certain stage you have to make yourself a raft and a ferry for others if you want to go forward from the place you cannot go forward from.” This letting yourself feel—feel the moment and how it spreads out. There is no other moment. There is this, this, this, the Blue Dragon moment. It goes out through the galaxies.
We stop relying on the worry—on knowing who we are, on sorrow, on anxiety, on “if only I could get something.” Or get through this time. We stop relying on those things, and start relying on being here. A koan is something to put in your mind so that you have that there. So instead of Fox News or “Oh my god I’m afraid,” or “I’m sick of being confined”—gradually freedom starts to appear by itself.
Joy and peace don’t stop the mosquitoes from biting. All these things have their source in meditation. So you want to open your heart. You want to –whatever it is – during meditation. That’s what he’s saying. Right. It comes from within.
Wisdom has no knowledge, but there is nothing it does not know. Therefore, purity pervades, with abundance.” This is a purity of inclusion and intimacy, not exclusion and definition. That’s abundance. You are this abundance.
Yunmen said – “Even after the full moon, every day is a good day!” The light of sesshin infuses us. In a “good day” the light is in you, just how it is. This is not an achievement, you are in the gift of the universe. The tenderness of the good day and our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Tao! it’s bigger than you. Not getting in the way of life, dreams, Linji’s death and more.
Yunmen said – Even after the full moon, every day is a good day! The light of sesshin – how it infuses us. In a ‘good day’ the light is in you. Just how it is, not an achievement, you are in the gift of the universe. The tenderness of the good day and our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Tao! it’s bigger than you. Not getting in the way of life, dreams, Linji’s death and more.
So we’ve been talking about old poems that are also a map of the path, but they’re a map of the kind where you have to see what rises in your meditation to meet them to find out how useful they are to you. Today we’re on the fifth of the ranks, the fifth poem. Five ranks by an old Zen teacher, and this is the final one, so you now know conclusively that there are only five stages to the path. And it goes:
Tonight I want to talk about another aspect of the koan about who’s hearing, who am I, what am I. There’s a spectrum I’ve been talking about so far for all of one previous talk. And I wanted to get at it slightly at an angle by going in through dreams, and the idea of is there a difference between what we’re doing and dreams anyway, which is certainly relevant to who we think we are.
The practice part of it is that it doesn’t matter if you think you lost the coin and start to be unhappy about life. That is another theory. And it doesn’t matter how many times that theory rises. Even that theory is the coin. A koan practice means that you go back to the river over and over again and you can trust that process.