PZI Teacher Archives
A student asked Jiashan, “What is Jiashan’s state of mind?”
Jiashan answered, “Monkeys, clasping their young to their breasts, return beyond the green peaks: a bird with a flower in its beak alights before the blue grotto.”
—Entangling Vines, Case 99
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.
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.
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.
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.
A 20-minute guided koan meditation with John Tarrant, from his Sunday dharma talk. The koan for this meditation, “What is Jiashan’s state of mind?” was translated by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland. Audio excerpt as recorded May 9, 2021.
A Mothers’ Day salute to the great mother in all her forms, the Valley Spirit—and to our own mysterious mothers. Wandering free and easy, without judgments or interruptions, the space inside everything is a kind of light that gradually becomes visible. Includes music for meditation from Jordan McConnell. 28-minute excerpt from Sunday talk, as recorded May 9, 2021. PZI Zen Online.