PZI Teacher Archives
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.
On entering a great sesshin, what is the tone? A quiet, receptive sense of modesty and humility, a humility of the earth, fallen into like Psyche into the underworld. Allowing the fall and encountering whatever appears, whatever one meets, is essential. Complete sesshin from October 5, 2022.
A gorgeous lilting ballad, “Now Westlin’ Winds,” sung a cappella by Jordan McConnell, of all things red thread and the passions of fall: hunters shooting, wild birds taking flight, and the field of love. The ballad is also known as “Song composed in August,” a Robert Burns song-poem, written around 1783. Recorded on October 7th, 2022 in Fall Sesshin.
When you are falling, there is not a lot you can do about it, but you are no longer constrained by your usual preoccupations. Awakening, too, is in the category of things you can’t do anything about. Sesshin’s Gate 3 is NO—or Mu—the famous dharmakaya koan that opens the body of reality. NO casts away all the consciousness you have had until now. Music with Jordan McConnell, closing words with Allison Atwill from the story of The Little Prince. Complete session recorded October 6, 2022.
When you are falling, there is not a lot you can do about it, but you are no longer constrained by your usual preoccupations. Awakening too, is in the category of things you can’t do anything about. The apparatus of certainty is circumvented and the universe is manifesting and unfolding through us. Excerpt from a sesshin dharma talk recorded October 6, 2022.
Predicament koans give a nod to the perilous, loony nature of life right now. It is the dangerous situation of being alive—anything can happen. Linji said, “We can’t stay here long,” so relish it! Even in the middle of a disaster you can have a marvelous time. Music for meditation from Jordan McConnell & Michael Wilding. Recorded in the Sunday Temple on September 11, 2022.
A woman raises a goose in a bottle—when it is grown, she wishes to remove it without breaking the bottle, or killing the goose. How do you get the goose out of the bottle? What is the glass between you and the world? This koan offers a chance to taste life. Complete session recorded September 4, 2022.
Just having your life, whatever appears—meeting it. Nothing to do. There is a joy in that, no matter what the universe delivers in the daily mix. Music from Amaryllis Fletcher & vows sung by Todd Geist. Recorded August 28, 2022.
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.
We can fairly easily see that not picking and choosing will help free us from some entanglements. At first you might think it’s about not caring, but actually it’s the opposite. It’s to do with befriending reality, listening to reality with a tender care. Complete dharma talk audio from Sunday, June 26, 2022. 43 minutes.
There is a marvelous living side-by-side when we show each other the greatest possible trust—not trying to rush away the feeling of the eternal, together. John Tarrant’s complete Sunday session audio from July 17, 2022.
Dark forces are present in our time, but the light is always at work holding everything. Do what you can, and know that confusion and lack of clarity are steps on the Way. Fierce joy is also it. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding & Jordan McConnell. Includes guided meditations. Complete Sunday session recorded July 03, 2022.
An encounter, a magical meeting, is the essence of koan practice. John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk, recorded July 10, 2022. Complete session. 70 minutes.
Michelle Riddle tells a sesshin story about a band of weed whackers that came to be in concert with everything. From John Tarrant’s Sunday Session on Not Picking & Choosing, recorded June 26, 2022.
Tess Beasley shares stories about encountering unexpected sounds, delayed luggage, and the chaos of moving. Recorded in John Tarrant’s Sunday session on Not Picking & Choosing, June 26, 2022.
John Tarrant’s complete Sunday Talk: The Great Way Is Not Difficult; It Just Avoids Picking & Choosing. Recorded June 26, 2022, in the PZI Online Temple.
Michael Wilding’s solo flute during John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk: The Great Way Is Not Difficult; It Just Avoids Picking & Choosing. Recorded on June 26, 2022 in the Online Temple.
John Tarrant on a meeting past midnight, with an old familiar face you may or may not recognize right off. When there is no moon and you can’t find your way in the usual way, you are bound to have some unusual encounters. Stories, readings, comments, and music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Complete Sunday Session audio. Recorded June 12, 2022.
Michael Wilding’s improv on flute, recorded Sunday, May 2022, during John Tarrant’s What Is This? Sunday Session. 5 minutes.
Shopping for enlightenment. What is this? Things come at us and over us during an enlightenment experience—sometimes quite unusual. You are being carried by the Dao; it doesn’t care what else you’ve got going on. Music for meditation from Jordan McConnell and Micheal Wilding. Recorded May 15, 2022.
The Rhinoceros has a suggested shopping list for John. Among the items, like hay and jam, is enlightenment. Yes, you really can find all of these things at the market, right in the middle of your busy life. 15-minute excerpt from the Sunday Session: Enlightenment While Shopping for Jam, recorded May 15, 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.
John Tarrant reads his poem, composed spontaneously in response to a training exercise with a group of Integrative Medicine doctors. Each practitioner was asked to describe healing, and this “is what came out of me.” Excerpt from Zen & Poetry, a Sunday Talk on May 1st, 2022.
Jesse Cardin gets a phone call about a warrant for his arrest and enters the realms of clarity and confusion. Who can wait quietly till the mud settles? It’s not our business if we’re clear or confused. Whatever arrives carries us through. Stories and koans from the Odyssey, Daodejing, Yunmen, and a hermit who enters the jumbled mountains without a backward glance. As recorded April 24th, 2022.
Winter Sesshin: Through Winter Silence into the New Light – audio excerpt from a dharma talk with Allison Atwill. The tale of a harrowing solo voyage around Cape Horn reminds us of our capacity to turn the boat toward the real. As recorded January 16, 2021.