There’s a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form. It knows how to listen to the teachings, it knows how to understand the teachings, it knows how to teach. That solitary brightness is you.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 38c, Linji
How do we set the mind at rest in times of war and turbulence? The practice was made in and for times like these. The art of practice is to be at peace in the middle of all the forces: climate change, disaster, war, disease, famine. Jordan MCConnell chants a dharani, a sacred spell to ward off danger and dispel demons. Can’t hurt! February 27, 2022.
A student asks Baizhang, “What is the most marvelous thing—a matter of special worth?” He answers, “Sitting alone on Mt. Courage Peak.” The vastness is always there, inside and outside. The possibility of imaginative responses in times of change. The wisdom of an indigenous storyteller who embodies a much longer timeline of radical earth changes. The freedom of not being you. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Dec. 13, 2020. Music posted separately.
Audio PZi Zen Online: our lives right now are an exercise in not knowing. Surprising intimacy in new forms of communication and meditation. But really there is nothing to hold onto. And that vastness is filled with light. These three koans reflect that in the time before we know or name. As recorded July 16 2020.
Summer Sesshin: Into the Blue Dragon’s Cave – Sunday morning talk. Small things, small moments of rest, peace, & awakening, like “thank you.” Appreciating discarded treasures. The very things that imprison us hold the freedom, if we can host them—being at home with them. The storehouse ONLY opens by itself—no prying or forcing. “Returning” in meditation. Leonard Cohen sings How the Light Gets In. As recorded on July 28, 2020.
Three threads: Anna Swir’ s poem, “There’s a Light in Me.” The light in us is wholly unharmed even in extremes of suffering, a place for the Muses to meet us. ‘Terma’—a Tibetan term— are hidden in physical objects or even concealed in your mind or memory, written in indecipherable Dakini script, to be found by you. Even in written texts or email are little reminders that we are already awake. When we hold light and silence everyone can feel it it changes the field. As recorded June 16th, 2020.
Audio PZI Zen Online -Taking the role of the host everywhere & Abiding Nowhere guide Allison’s talk. Solitude as resting in vastness. Loneliness – you may even be in company, but something is missing. revisiting childhood’ solitude and the solitude of mountain trails. Abiding ‘somewhere’ keeps me out of vastness.
John Tarrant walks us through the ancient forests he knew as a child. Fire sirens, the Queensland Magpie singing, and Linji’s Solitary Brightness. How do we live the life we have in the face of vast change? Audio recording from Winter Sesshin 2020.
A discovery that all the Linji koans we are working with during the retreat are variants on Linji’s “There’s nothing I dislike.” They all appear from this core. The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours. If you “only don’t object” or exclude reality, the brightness is there. As recorded in Summer Sesshin 2016.