PZI Teacher Archives
There are 529 pieces here.
Everywhere – It’s Everywhere You Look
“Feeling the time,” is a line from the poet Du Fu—the time is always with us. And it’s always too early to despair. We’re just here. Not wanting anything to be different. Objections are full of knowing! You step out of the way you are perceiving the world, the dream of who you are, you turn the light backward. Recorded February 26, 2023.
Winter Sesshin Closing: The Whole World Is Medicine
John Tarrant, Tess Beasley
As we end sesshin, we go forth in the world and the treasure of sesshin is still here. You can’t lose what you entered into while in sesshin. In the midst of everything, you still have the silence. We can remain open to connection with the great matter.
Winter Sesshin: Trusting in the Dao
Explanations of Zen, or of anything, are not it. Zen does not try to make you pure—it tries to make you whole. We can trust in the Dao, but by explaining it, we move away from it. Something deeper is going on, carrying us.
What Is This? An Ancient Question
What is this? is an ancient question—it holds our whole lives. That wondering is the essence of what it is to be human. If you allow wonder into a hard time, it will change it. The attempt to discover something is where the question or problem will change.
Zen Luminaries: A Primer for Forgetting with Lewis Hyde
Author and essayist Lewis Hyde talks with Jon Joseph about his most recent book, A Primer for Forgetting. To be born is thought of as a forgetting in many cultures around the world. Hyde also explores the creative need for the trickster and unconventional gift economy running parallel to Zen.
This Is the Treasure
Dharma talk given by John Tarrant on the last eve of Winter Sesshin 2023.
Carried by What Is True
When we meet, as in sesshin, we create and participate in a field of knowledge. There is a necessity of being lost on the path. Yunmen wants your descent—the better to allow the whole of life in. He asks, What is your light? He trusts the field to help people find their own way. Complete talk from Winter Sesshin 2023.
Carried by Kindness & Joy
The kindness of strangers often carries us during difficult times—synchronicity is enhanced. When we can leave our troubles, our “selfness,” then joy appears when all else has fallen away. And we find we can have it!
We Are Carried in the Dark – On Lostness & the Spiral Path of Practice
The Dharma is a spiral path of lostness. What will happen next? It’s dark. We’re here no matter what. When you think okay, I’m lost, what’s next? Trusting in the dark is the Way—it is not our business how we awaken.
The Path of Practice – Remembering a Teacher
Jon Joseph recalls the powerful influence of his high school Zen teacher Señor King, and others along the way, as his unfolding path of practice is carried by the great current.
In Front of the Dead Tree Cliff, Flowers Are Always Blooming
Gifts are outside of usual commerce and exchange. What is it to receive one? What comes with that? Something is always vast and still, something is always blooming. Includes the story of an olive tree delivery, Denise Levertov’s poem The Gift, and music from PZI musicians. Complete Sunday Zen session.
Something Is Always Blooming
Something is always vast and still, something is always blooming—the joys and pains of life, of forgetting and remembering. Gifts are outside of usual commerce and exchange, and life is a gift. Just accept it, like the flowers at the foot of the cliff. Complete Sunday Zen session.
A Story of Finding and Reaching
John Tarrant tells a story of finding and reaching. 24-minute excerpt from Sunday Zen on Boxing Day 2023.
Taking Part in the Gathering: Opening Talk
John Tarrant’s opening dharma talk in Summer Sesshin at Santa Sabina. Recorded June 13, 2022.
The Project of Suffering vs The Reaching
What if, suddenly, it’s midnight? The usual navigational tools are not available. The reaching is the important component of this moment. Understanding the suffering we fabricate, which separates us, versus a fitting suffering which opens our hearts in connection. Complete talk from Winter Sesshin 2023.
Timelessly Carried by the Way
David shares his incredible life journey, being carried from a 3-month meditation course in Nepal with Lama Yeshe to Seoul, Korea, and back again to Japan, meeting Koun Yamada in Kamakura, and eventually coming to California and PZI. Complete talk from Winter Sesshin 2023.
Great Silence at the Beginning: Always Home
We have made it out of deep winter to the new year, and there is something new appearing. How do I hold the Zen paradox of form and emptiness as I live my life? With dreams, poems, comments, and Jordan McConnell playing music for meditation. Complete January Sunday Zen session, Part 1.
Zen Luminaries: A Flower Twirled – Jon Joseph in Conversation with David Weinstein & Ruben Habito
David Weinstein, Jon Joseph
Zen Luminary Ruben Habito, a former Jesuit priest, studied Zen in Kamakura with Koun Yamada and there met David Weinstein and Jon Joseph. The three reminisce about their zendo time and the warm, welcoming teacher they found in Yamada. January 30, 2023.
Great Silence at the Beginning: The Morning Star & The Immovable Seat
No management of the universe is necessary. Effort does not help. Buddha’s story starts with ‘everything’ achieved, and acknowledges the longing and sorrow that can not be assuaged by getting things. Buddha in awakening sits in the immovable seat at the center—all included—even Mara. Talk from January Sunday Zen, Part 3.
Great Silence at the Beginning: Always Home
Part 1 of the January Silence series. What falls away at year’s end? Beginnings and endings are linked to uncertainty. If we can allow it, we learn to rest in that and find beauty in that mystery. In this season there is often a deep internal retreat, followed by the stirring of the new. What is it that is unfolding? Who am I? Can I hold the paradox of emptiness and form as I experience what is unfolding in my life? Where am I in my life? The not-knowing is always available. Dreams, poems and comments. Jordan McConnell plays music for meditation. January 8 2023.
The Transformations in Things
In the darkest days of the year, we tend toward year’s end assessments as a kind of emptying of heart and mind before the new year. John Tarrant tells a shaggy-dog transformation tale beginning with the koan, “Where do all the Buddhas come from? East Mountain walks on water.” There is a strange journey, a fox, carp, tiger, dragon’s cave, and a meeting with the Buddha. When we are free in the current matter, it is easier to love others, and our hearts flow out and touch each other.
Loving the World That Carries Us
The body of form changes, but what is everlasting? Q: “What endures?” A: “Mountain flowers bloom like brocade. The valley streams run deepest indigo.” Everybody has it. We are on a journey with no fixed destination, and the moment we’ve been looking for is here. What carries us, if not the world around us? With solo flute improv from Micheal Wilding.
Zen Luminaries: Wild Mind, Wild Earth with David Hinton
Jon Joseph talks with poet and Chan/Zen scholar David Hinton about his book, Wild Mind, Wild Earth – Our Place in the Sixth Extinction. Hinton writes that we must rekindle our relationship to nature to avoid extinction, tracing Chan/Zen roots to the paleolithic/indigenous and Daoist concepts of ‘not born,’ or ‘no separation’ with the earth. Includes comments from John Tarrant and Allison Atwill.
Zen Luminaries: Silent Illumination with Chan Scholar GuoGu
Jon Joseph talks with scholar and Chan Teacher GuoGu about his book, Silent Illumination, on the literary genius of Zen master Hongzhi, whose teaching evolved during the height of 12th century Chan. GuoGu discusses the subtleties and great freedom inherent in Chan, from its flourishing in the Sung Dynasty to the current day.
Hearing the Sounds of the World
We don’t need to turn away from the world and we don’t have to find a place to stand. Our listening and our presence operate below the level at which we usually manage things. So that is the hearing aspect of this koan. Just let hearing have you. This koan can be carried everywhere with you. Comments from teachers & Amanda Boughton sings vows. November 6, 2022.
Zen Luminaries: Poet & Essayist Jane Hirshfield
Jon Joseph Roshi converses with poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield on her many volumes of poetry and essays, her worldview, Buddhist practice, and more. With comments & questions from John Tarrant. Complete session from October 24th, 2022.
Fall Sesshin: Evening Words from The Little Prince
Allison Atwill reads mysterious and hopeful final words from the book, The Little Prince. Did he make it safely? We don’t know. Recorded at close of the evening during Fall Sesshin, October 6, 2022. 4 minutes.
Fall Sesshin 2022: Dahui’s Journey, Bodhidharma’s Response, & the Marvelous Duke
Sesshin is an embrace which allows greater freedom to appear, and it is deeply mysterious. We don’t do it for a particular outcome or we would be constraining ourselves. We are free and easy wandering. In the koan, Emperor Wu wants a method and a first principle of the holy teaching. Bodhidharma answers, There isn’t a principle! You can’t confine it. Chan is trusting uncertainty, it is not something to be believed. Vows from Amanda Boughton, closing words from Tess Beasley. Complete session recorded on October 7, 2022.
Fall Sesshin 2022: Falling Into the Well of Sesshin
Falling into the well of sesshin involves dissolving the you that had the problem. In Zen we are solving things one level down. We all have this ability, though it can be hard to see. John retells Jiashan’s strange journey toward awakening: He was falling and found purchase with an unexpected teacher, the mysterious Boat Monk. Comments and “teach us!” responses from teachers and sangha are included. Complete session from October 5, 2022.