a. In the Sea of Ise, ten thousand feet down, lies a single stone.
I want to pick up that stone
without getting my hands wet.
b. Here is the stone, inscribed with three lines:
1 The top line is a signature.
2 The right line reads, “Cannot get wet.”
3 The left line reads, “Cannot get dry.”
– PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 27
From an 8th century C.E. imperial Japanese song. The Shrine at Ise is the most sacred site of Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion. It is sacred to foxes. This is one of the few Japanese koans in the curriculum.
John Tarrant gives an evening dharma talk on the incalculable value of descent and return. We take up the task set by the ancestors: that’s what we came here for. As recorded in Fall Sesshin, October 21, 2021.
Audio PZI Zen Online- The koan: Sea of Ise inspires Covid dreaming. Dream vacation: scuba diving in Brooklyn Harbor? What is feared opens to beauty. The dark Sea of Brooklyn held a surprise. As recorded May 18 2020
John takes us further into our lockdown descent with a predicament koan that interrupts our usual ways of navigating, into the Sea of Ise, 10,000 feet down, to a single stone. Session includes John’s talk and koan, meditation segments, closing music, and participating teachers’ comments. As recorded April 5, 2020.