PZI Teacher Archives

A Passionate Entry into Life


John Tarrant’s complete Sunday Talk: The Great Way Is Not Difficult; It Just Avoids Picking & Choosing. Recorded June 26, 2022, in the PZI Online Temple.



Zhaozhou often quoted this saying by Sengcan:
“The great way is not difficult, if you just don’t pick and choose.”

—The Blue Cliff Record, Case 2 (from Sengcan’s Trust in Mind)

There are four occasions in the Blue Cliff Record where Zhaozhou uses the phrase, The great way is not difficult, if you just don’t pick and choose.

We know what we truly have to do, but we avoid it. But we also profoundly know the path. That is a mystery. Have compassion for everything that arises.

And yet, you have to enter the palace. There’s a sense of, “This is a gift, this is for me.” This is a vast life that we are in. We can have a passionate entry into life when we’re not trying to order it around.

John tells a story about a bear who would not let an attorney pay a bill; leading both parties, who had been deadlocked in a dispute, to decide to just call it quits.

A vessel appears when we meditate, and we can cast ourselves into it and be carried in it. This is a nice thing to know.

Sesshin: sess = to personally know, and shin = touch the heart-mind

Participants share reflections on the recent Summer Sesshin, which included a refuge ceremony. Someone commented on sesshin difficulties and snafus: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Allison Atwill tells of a utility bill that contained all the dread of all space and time…

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