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We found 64 results for "working with koans".

Text September 18, 2019

Working With Koans

John Tarrant

A koan is a piece of old wisdom in a very concise form. I think of it as a vial of ancient light that has been passed down to us. It’s the same light that was in the heart of the teacher who invented the koan. So, if you can get the vial open, what will pour out is your inheritance. It won’t be the usual kind of inheritance with bank accounts, real estate, debts and family feuds. This inheritance will be a perspective—the way an old master saw and experienced the world.

2853 Words
Audio January 31, 2022

Zen Koans & Creative Process: A Conversation

David Weinstein, Jordan McConnell, Michael Hofmann

Zen koan meditation practice and creative process enhance each other. David Weinstein Roshi of Rockridge Meditation Center (Oakland), hosts a conversation with sumi artist and teacher Michael Hofmann and musician and luthier Jordan McConnell. Insights abound on creative process in music and in visual art when combined with koan practice.

75' 9"
Text March 2, 2021

Koans in Your Life

John Tarrant

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.

4445 Words
Text October 8, 2020

13 No – The Zenosaurus Course In Koans

John Tarrant

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.

6233 Words
Text October 8, 2020

16 A Treasure Hidden In The Body – The Zenosaurus Course In Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 16: There is a very old idea that the human body is itself a map of the cosmos, the fragment that contains the whole.

1658 Words
Text October 8, 2020

18 Gratitude, Care And Feeding Of – The Zenosaurus Course In Koans

John Tarrant

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. 

1913 Words
Text October 8, 2020

14 When Something Confronts You, Don’t Believe It – The Zenosaurus Course in Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 14: The dark, charged moments endure in us and they bless us. “This,” they announce, “is your life—here it is.” What you have always longed for has arrived.

3072 Words
Text October 8, 2020

7 The True Person Has No Rank – The Zenosaurus Course in Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 7: The mind goes “label, label, label” until it doesn’t, and a different possibility appears. If you really show up in your own life, you don’t have rank.

808 Words
Text October 8, 2020

9 Sixteen Meditators Get Into The Bath Together – The Zenosaurus Course in Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 9: For a long time I had the idea that there was a right thing that “should” be happening. I was hurrying past to get to the right thing, there was a gap between my consciousness and the world.

805 Words
Text October 8, 2020

6 The Moon Sets At Midnight – The Zenosaurus Course In Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 6: The koan shows the enormous life-changing possibility that we might be making fine decisions, and the universe might be carrying us along very nicely if we are not jostling and worrying and striving.

1804 Words
Text October 8, 2020

2 When Cold & Heat Visit – The Zenosaurus Course in koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 2: We usually understand things by taking them up to the top floor of the mind and finding a slot they fit into. Koans are meant to open a different way of being and thinking. Instead of preparing you to understand your life, a koan prepares you to walk through your life.

898 Words
Text October 8, 2020

1 The Whole World Is Medicine – The Zenosaurus Course In Koans

John Tarrant

Zenosaurus Curriculum 1: When the Buddha was growing up, his father kept four sights from him. The forbidden sights were a sick person, an old person, a corpse, and a pilgrim dedicated to the meditation path.

2301 Words
Text August 23, 2020

Predicament Koans – John Tarrant 2013

John Tarrant

So, rather than thinking a predicament is something we’ve got to get rid of, it’s just life—and it has its own dynamism. Maybe we have to walk through it, not run the other way. It’s all right to weep about it, or be frustrated and angry. You can’t be someone else, you are who you are. The gateway is yours, not someone else’s. From recording at Summer Sesshin, July 11 2013, Santa Sabina.

2261 Words
Text August 14, 2020

Spirit of Love, Joy & Play in Koans

John Tarrant

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.”

5546 Words
Text August 6, 2020

Knock on Any Door – Daoist Masters & Zen Koans

John Tarrant

Whatever your condition is, you can see the “I have joy.” Out of that emptiness, out of what seems unpromising—the dark material, the valley spirit, the enigma, out of the mystery, out of what I don’t understand—it just appears. The joy just appears.

3034 Words
Text July 7, 2020
3847 Words
Text May 8, 2020

The Heart Sutra and Koans

John Tarrant

The Heart Sutra in the context of its relationship to koans and what koans are. I want to pursue that line a little bit.  And the first thing to say about – probably the first attitude people have to koans is that they are a sort of tool, a gadget of some kind, and you use them and you concentrate on them, and you use them – a can opener for the mind

3777 Words
Video June 2, 2019

Abiding with Koans, the Mind Comes Forth

Rachel Boughton

Rachel Boughton, Director of the PZI Santa Rosa Center, how-to talk on working with zen koans.

A Zen ancestor was gathering wood and heard a line being recited that struck him. “What was that again?” he asked. “Oh, it was just something I heard up north in a temple.” So he went to study up north.

34' 55"
Video July 6, 2017

Taking Care of Yourself on Retreat

Rachel Boughton

Rachel Boughton, Sensei, talks about working with koans and being kind to yourself at a long meditation retreat. July 14, 2014.

31' 38"
Text May 8, 2020

The Method of Zen

John Tarrant

In the evening dharma talk John introduces us to an ancestor in the koan tradition, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Soko), 1089-1163 and his disciple Wuzhuo Miaozong (無著妙宗; 1096–1170 CE), Miaozong lived during the Song dynasty and was one of the first nuns to be included in an imperially sanctioned Zen lineage history. The conversation between Dahui and Miaozong is instructive of his early method of using only the head of the koan and become one with it. His method was formulated for his culture like we are for ours.

4731 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Meditation as a Basis for Healing

John Tarrant

“What are the essentials of the meditation path as a basis for this healing — healing of both person and culture?” August 2006.

2899 Words
Audio May 7, 2022

Zen Is Poetry

John Tarrant

Koans and poetry tumble over each other. Good poetry has an objective quality and is related to koanville in that way. It does not try to persuade or recruit. Not knowing always supports us—you are always in the jeweled net. Music for meditation and the four vows with Jordan McConnell and Amaryllis Fletcher. Participants create poetry from a few momentary observations. Poems by John Tarrant and others.

71' 18"

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Dharma Theme November 4, 2021

Dharma Theme: Zen Luminaries, A Series of Conversations with Jon Joseph Roshi

Jon Joseph

Modern Zen Luminaries: A series of Zen Buddhist scholars, writers, poets, translators, and practitioners join PZI’s Jon Joseph Roshi for lively discussions online, with a focus on our Chan lineage. Includes all recordings beginning with the series’ launch in September 2021.

811 Words
Text October 12, 2021

Unexpected Gifts: 10,000 Feet Down, The Stone

John Tarrant

John Tarrant talks about living in an underworld time, in a descent as a culture and as a world, and as a planet. Accepting the descent, and accepting the quality of being lost when it appears, is profoundly important. And there’s a great, strange, and interesting mystery in that.

7566 Words
Text September 23, 2021

Awakenings of Linji & the Great Chan Teachers

John Tarrant

John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and Linji. The love, and attention, and faithfulness at the heart of the stories and teachings of the Chan ancestors is their gift to us. And everything we bring to it is an addition into this great heritage, and is part of the layering. Transcript from a video talk in Fall Sesshin 2019.

4443 Words

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Article September 17, 2021

Carl Jung’s Red Book

John Tarrant

Jung’s journey is interesting, harrowing, ridiculous, pompous, incomprehensible, amusing, sad, frightening, wise—the whole range of the human is there. Jung’s point of meeting with Buddhism is that, at a time when darkness seemed and was near, he offered the example of a trust in the deepest possibility of transformation, and in the involuntary processes that we contain, and in the depths of what it is to be human.

2200 Words

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Article September 17, 2021

Escape Arts & Sam the Cyborg

John Tarrant

Escape arts disassemble the walls or, as in dreams, allow us to step right through them. We can also think of escape arts as practices that appear in moments of natural clarity. They are often similar to the moves you make if you are interested in Zen and koans, but the world teaches escape arts to us; they just appear in a situation without any conscious feeling that you are entering spiritual territory.

773 Words

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Article September 14, 2021

1, 2, 3, 4, Rhinoceros

John Tarrant

When we are not bound by the story of our lives—the fictions, really—and not bound by the effort of knowing what everything is and where it’s going and what it should be, then a new kind of freedom appears. The body feels that and becomes at ease. You experience the wonder and beauty of just being here in the world of consciousness. 

1555 Words
Text September 13, 2021
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Text August 13, 2021

Enter Here, Step Through

John Tarrant

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.

4957 Words