A short clip from one of John Tarrant’s talks during the 2015 Fall Sesshin, held in October at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa California. Here John talks briefly about the meditation state, and “turning the light inwards” to explore what is.
Allison Atwill takes us into the moment in Baizhang’s Fox koan when the old man finally stays and the implications for our world view. Recorded at Fall sesshin Land of Medicine Buddha, Soquel, CA.
Two swords are crossed (like in the movies, which actually I don’t think happens in real life, but it’s very popular in the movies. It was popular in the movies like 1200 years ago.) 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. Farther, higher, up , further, more. So 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.
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:
I want to describe the process that I went through over the last year, of making the painting, and I want to do that in the spirit of when something
arises, don’t believe it, and shine your light on it. So in a year, a lot of things can arise not to believe, and they did. But even, if you’re in the meditation hall, five minutes is
probably long enough for plenty to arrive not to believe in.
John Tarrant gives a dharma talk Thursday night of the 2011 spring sesshin. The universe is here for each one of us. Underlying the troubles and pain of the world there is always a presence, a brightness, which is us and we are it. April 21, 2011.