PZI Teacher Archives

Tortoise Mountain Wakes Up


Yantou and Xuefeng were snowed in on Tortoise Mountain.
Day after day, Yantou slept while Xuefeng sat up and meditated.
On the third day, Yantou sat up too and said, “Get some sleep.
What do you think you are, a roadside shrine?”
Xuefeng touched his chest and said, “My heart isn’t at peace. I can’t fool myself.”
Yantou gave a great yell. “HAAA! Don’t you know that the family treasure
doesn’t come in through the gate?” he said.
“Let the teaching flow out from your own breast to cover the sky and the earth.”
Xuefeng was suddenly enlightened and cried out,
“Today Tortoise Mountain has finally awakened!”

—Zen Story

Audio August 24, 2022

Secret Friendship Along the Way

John Tarrant

There is a secret quality of friendship that is very close to enlightenment. Friendship is a state of freedom—you don’t want each other to be different. You and everything you touch share the same heart mind. Deep friendship has a long arc. Buddha realized that Mara would miss him if he left. Recorded August 14, 2022.

77' 31"
Audio March 2, 2022

Winter Sesshin: My Heart Is Not at Rest

Jesse Cardin

Jesse Cardin tells the story of Zen’s favorite odd couple Yantou and Xuefeng holed up snowbound on Tortoise Mountain. Xuefeng’s heart is not at rest, he can not sleep or stop thinking about his heart not being at rest.

49' 57"
Audio February 8, 2021

Tortoise Mountain Wakes Up! This Very Matter Is It

John Tarrant

John Tarrant on friendship and the kindness at the heart of things. Mazu’s “The whole meaning of your life is in the current matter.” This very heart mind is it! The sweetness, and even the gnarly bits of friendship are part of the intimacy at the center of meeting. Zen is about meeting—we make friends with each koan and allow the universe to work with and through us. Jordan McConnell on guitar. Complete Sunday Zen session recorded January 31, 2021.

54' 51"
Audio February 4, 2021

Two Friends Snowbound on Tortoise Mountain

John Tarrant

On friendship—two old friends on Tortoise Mountain are snowed in. One wakes up and so does the Mountain. Audio clip from Sunday Zen, recorded January 31, 2021. 7 minutes.

7' 25"