PZI Teacher Archives
We’re always looking for a recipe or data points to get a handle on happiness. The most profoundly simple but difficult challenge is to let ourselves transform into ourselves. We imagine a different, better self “after awakening.” Every stroke, even the most difficult or painful, is part of the piece. Our journey through suffering transforms everything, including the destination.
Here you will find links to dharma talk audios from PZI’s Online Fall Retreat: The Storehouse of Treasures Opens by Itself with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers. Includes music from Amaryllis Fletcher, Amanda Boughton & Jordan McConnell. Recorded in the PZI Digital Temple, September 27–30, 2023.
Usually, casually, I think of myself as being well. When I am sick, wellness is the me I imagine I’ll get back to. I can’t always be sure what is healing and what is the opposite.
Zen is about meeting—we make friends with each koan and allow the universe to work with and through us. The sweetness, and even the gnarly bits of friendship are part of the intimacy at the center of meeting. In the field of connectedness we discover things we can’t discover on our own.
If you’ve got demons, you’re alive! But you don’t have to get on board with them. Demons come out of your own heart, just like enlightenment.
Have confidence: just go into the silence. The absolute is always there. Inside it all, there’s freedom. There’s no situation where infinity is not there.
When we wake up and see our true place in the universe, it’s as if we have stepped out of a landscape and then we’re willing to step back into it. We appear and go back into the brocade. Then, we have our true place in the universe.
Here you will find links to audio and video dharma talks from PZI’s Great Summer Sesshin: Creatures of the Summer Dawn with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers. Includes music from Amaryllis Fletcher, Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Held in person at Santa Sabina Center from June 12–18, 2023.
It is the Chan way to understand that the fullness of life resides in us, and the experience of life, whatever it is, is all for you. Our task is to have the life we have.
The mind is a great artist, ceaselessly creating and assessing problems. The territory of the koan is finding the delicious helplessness of the mind and body, and settling into that—it’s the robe of the moment.
Questions about death and the after-death are a part of the traditional Chan koan curriculum. Dignified by their antiquity, they are the primordial instance of that which cannot be negotiated with.
Our era is undoubtedly difficult, and even crazy. We are in an underworld time. We know that we’re cutting down ancient trees, burning fossil fuels, melting the sustaining ice, finding leaders who pretend that we have no part in the changes that overwhelm us. We are suffering from forces greater than us and also from ourselves; we too are forces beyond our control.
What you can conceive of might take away your life. On the other hand, what you cannot conceive of will give you your life.
Animals give us the gifts of their living presence, and we feel the profound effect they have on our lives. Animals surprise and enlarge us. We become the animal we are seeing, and that is a primary Zen move. The way we become the world that we are part of, is a profound part of Zen.
Koans and poetry tumble over each other. Old Zen masters used snatches of poetry as koans. Good poetry has an objective quality and is related to koanville in that way. It does not try to persuade or recruit.
What is this? is an ancient question—it holds our whole lives. That wondering is the essence of what it is to be human.
Meet Great Ancestor Linji: “A nine-colored Phoenix, a thousand-mile horse.” That’s how Linji was described in early Chan times.
Accepting the descent, and accepting the quality of being lost when it appears, is profoundly important. And there’s a great, strange, and interesting mystery in that.
Anything might be in the Blue Dragon’s cave: awakening, memories, sorrows, dance moves—all the possibilities of your life might be there. You just fall into meditation in the Blue Dragon’s cave. Perhaps your whole life is blessed—every struggle and confusion itself.
The Zen approach is not about avoiding mistakes but bringing them to the path. Making a mistake opens the tenderness in us and can be more helpful than not making one. Then, the mistakes are not mistakes.
To meet a Tea Lady was always a somewhat risky proposition. Usually, in koan-ville, an unsuspecting traveler hurrying on their way somewhere else—consumed with their own knowledge and problems— would encounter a tiny wayside establishment with a deeply mysterious proprietor on hand.
Eventually you come to a place where you can’t go on and you can’t go back. You have arrived at the base of cliffs; you can’t scale them, you can’t get around them, and there’s no handy tunnel through them. It’s a daunting place—that’s the point of it. And when you arrive here your life and your journey can become your own.
How many lifetimes do we spend in our fox suits? They are not wasted. All forms are part of the lively package of existence. Turning words and sudden awakenings even from long-suffering can appear anywhere and in the most unexpected ways.
These dharma talks and texts, like Dongshan’s First Rank, wander in the hours before moonrise when anything can appear. Being lost, or in the dark, is a necessary condition on the Way.
HERE ARE WINTER SESSHIN AUDIO RECORDINGS of dharma talks, including music from Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher, and musicians Amanda Boughton, Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. (These will be added as they are edited A complete audio record of talks from PZI’s Live-Online Winter Sesshin 2023, January 31–February 5, 2023. Videos also available in the KALPA library.
A complete audio record of talks from PZI’s Live-Online Fall Sesshin 2022, October 4-9, 2022.
Here is our curation of full-length Summer Sesshin dharma talk audios on a single page, for easy finding and listening. A sesshin is more than the sum of its parts or recorded talks—there are personal interviews and deep meditation, teaching talks and conversations, old friends and new, ceremonies, brilliant teachers, music, great enlightenment, mistakes, and delight. The play of the universe. Recorded at Santa Sabina Center, June 13-19, 2022.
ZENOSAURUS: 19 Koans with introductions and commentaries from John Tarrant, as first published on his website, tarrantworks.