PZI Teacher Archives
The whole purpose of your life rests in the current matter.
—Mazu Daoyi (excerpt from a longer teaching)
Takuan Soho, creator of the renowned golden yellow daikon pickle, was a poet, artist, calligrapher, master of the tea ceremony and Zen priest of Tokai temple—a master of the creative response. The arts of Zen are responses to our meeting whatever circumstances arise—death, war, love, loneliness, natural changes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make the Mountains Dance! Enjoy the life you have—side with the wisdom field, side with the koan. All of life is solved already. What do I do next? Keep meditating!
Markers of the Way. Stepping into the field of the heart mind —the koan field. John reads his poem, “Setting out under the Golden Gate in the Rain.” The intimacy of doing tasks together. Mazu’s koan, “The purpose of your whole life is contained in the current matter.” Epiphanies—the Greek showing of the god, and the Japanese kensho: when you see your true nature. Curiosity is part of awakening. Whose life is it? Discovery must be lived through your own deep work. Everything strikes the heart. Our monastery is the practice. Music with Michael Wilding and Ryan McCoy. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Feb. 7, 2021.
Guided meditation with John Tarrant. Who is sitting? Who hears the bell? Always a good start for a meditation. John shares Master Ma’s comment on “the current matter”— this very moment of your life as a most important gate. Audio excerpt recorded Feb. 7 2021, PZI Zen Online. 25 minutes.