What is it like to be a mother? There are many rituals of participation with the Great Mother, the ancient Goddess. In Daoism, she is the Valley Spirit who never dies. In Chan/Zen, the Mother, the Valley Deep, brings the whole realm of feeling. Recorded on Mother’s Day, May 8th, 2022.
Meditation on the koan, What Is Jiashan’s State of Mind, is accompanied by Jordan McConnell’s musical improvisation on guitar. Recorded on May 1, 2022, during John Tarrant’s Zen Is Poetry Sunday Talk.
John Tarrant reads his poem, composed spontaneously in response to a training exercise with a group of Integrative Medicine doctors. Each practitioner was asked to describe healing, and this “is what came out of me.” Excerpt from Zen & Poetry, a Sunday Talk on May 1st, 2022.
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.
Writer & Roshi Susan Murphy, in conversation with Jon Joseph, reads from her books and talks about her childhood, family, lifelong relationship with the land, the disturbing evidence of climate change in Australia, and her ongoing, warm collaborations with indigenous aboriginal elders. Recorded April 25, 2022. Jordan McConnell sings the vows.
Jesse Cardin gets a phone call about a warrant for his arrest and enters the realms of clarity and confusion. Who can wait quietly till the mud settles? It’s not our business if we’re clear or confused. Whatever arrives carries us through. Stories and koans from the Odyssey, Daodejing, Yunmen, and a hermit who enters the jumbled mountains without a backward glance. As recorded April 24th, 2022.
We abide in the inexplicable amnesty of hereness. Amnesty is also a metaphor for awakening. You allow your awakening to go all the way through. And you can be free, then caught, then free again. Recorded April 17, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding. Todd Geist sings vows.
A great meandering conversation bookended with Hosho Peter’s poems and reminiscences: It was in the late 1960s when Peter first met poet Gary Snyder, a meeting that forever changed his life. Emulating Snyder, he began a regular Zen meditation practice, later joining the San Francisco Zen Center. A conversation with Jon Joseph. March 28th, 2022.
Knock on any door—someone will answer. Letting koans teach you koans is the way. Anything that arises is part of the work. It’s not following instructions. John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk as recorded March 27, 2022.
A quest, a treasure hunt, through cities overtaken by sands and ghosts and overwhelmed by the sea. We search for hidden teachings in scrolls, clay tablets, or dreams. Being lost is primary. In the koan lands we side with being lost when we turn toward uncertainty and wait, and whether we can bear it or not, a path opens. There is no end to this opening.
Zen Luminaries: The Suzuki Roshi Legacy – Jon Joseph in Conversation with Zen Priest & Writer David Chadwick
Chadwick studied intensively with Suzuki and received Zen priest ordination from him just before his death in 1971. Chadwick became a practice leader at Tassajara and eventually studied with other Japanese teachers in both the Soto and Rinzai traditions. A lively conversation with Jon Joseph recorded February 28, 2022.
It helps to be on the side of lostness when the world goes to hell in a handbasket (Ukraine). All we have to do is be here and be lost—no usual schemes or regrets. Let the universe teach you. Accomplishing is not the deepest thing. Being lost is a promising beginning. Getting lost is good for finding personal practices.
Allison remarks on Bodhidharma’s Setting the Mind to Rest koan. Reality vs Data: Data can’t be wrong, can it? Recorded during Sunday session with John Tarrant & Friends on February 27, 2022. 4 Minutes.
Michael Wilding adds his original music on saxophone to John Tarrant’s meditation session. As recorded live on Sunday March 6, 2022. 6 minutes.
Michael Wilding plays an exquisite solo during meditation. From John Tarrant’s Sunday session, recorded on February 20, 2022.
We think about getting to that perfect destination, but it is the journey itself that is it. A lightness in our path comes of each step we take into eternity. Music from Michael Wilding, Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. February 20, 2022.
Beautiful Winter Sesshin Opening Ceremony with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers. John Tarrant, David Weinstein, Tess Beasley, Jesse Cardin, Jon Joseph, Sarah Bender, & David Parks all speak koans and phrases into the Temple. Michael Wilding plays solo flute for meditation. February 1, 2022. 14 minutes.
John Tarrant reads the koan story Bodhidharma Sets the Mind to Rest to close his Sunday program. February 27, 2022. 2 minutes.
Silence is for freedom and for being together. Haiku is in service of the silence—it expresses restraint and vastness at the same time. Haiku poets often had many nicknames under which they published their poems. Jesse Cardin Roshi gives the evening words, Jordan McConnell and Amaryllis Fletcher play the Boundless Vows. As recorded February 5, 2022.
Jesse Cardin tells the story of Zen’s favorite odd couple Yantou and Xuefeng holed up snowbound on Tortoise Mountain. Xuefeng’s heart is not at rest, he can not sleep or stop thinking about his heart not being at rest.
A curation of Winter Sesshin dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening. A sesshin is always more than the sum of its parts or its recorded talks. There are morning rituals, greetings, incense passed magically through the screen, the changing light, rich silences, moments of humor, tech gremlins, tears, synchronicities, dogs barking, dreams, and awakenings that we share. It is the timeless play of the universe. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple, February 1-6, 2022.