Dharma Theme: Fall Sesshin 2020 – Gathering in the Valley of Our Time. All audio sessions, opening and closing ceremonies, sutra services, and excerpts of talks. October 1-4 2020
Zenosaurus Curriculum 16: There is a very old idea that the human body is itself a map of the cosmos, the fragment that contains the whole.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 17: A variant of this discovery is that falling on the ground, while terrible, is also wonderful—the taste of dirt, blood, coffee, oranges, tears, sweat—the taste of life itself.
Zenosaurus: My Kaiser doc with solemn demeanor sent me to be scanned for cancer on the bone. I could tell the docs thought it was a likely outcome, and while I didn’t believe they were right, my mind did play the scenarios all by itself, without instruction from me.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 18: Gratitude comes with a feeling of openness, shyness, vulnerability. The person who is grateful can be hurt or rejected, she is taking a risk. With gratitude, there is more at stake, life is not small.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 14: The dark, charged moments endure in us and they bless us. “This,” they announce, “is your life—here it is.” What you have always longed for has arrived.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 12: When you really hear, your understanding comes in a way that’s different from the usual.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 11: This koan offers offers the chance of finding that there is a home in traveling, in the smell of toast, the chill of the morning air and even in the feeling of being far from home.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 10: Why do people sit around the camp fire with flashlights under their chins telling ghost stories? As well as the shudder that takes us to another realm, ghosts bring romance and yearning—they account for incompleteness, the person you loved but who died or changed her mind, the uncontrollable residue of everything we do.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 7: The mind goes “label, label, label” until it doesn’t, and a different possibility appears. If you really show up in your own life, you don’t have rank.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 9: For a long time I had the idea that there was a right thing that “should” be happening. I was hurrying past to get to the right thing, there was a gap between my consciousness and the world.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 8: Most problems come from “knowing” things that might not be true. If we stop insisting on certainty we might feel anxiety at first, but then an exhilarating freedom might arrive.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 6: The koan shows the enormous life-changing possibility that we might be making fine decisions, and the universe might be carrying us along very nicely if we are not jostling and worrying and striving.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 5: What’s it like when we don’t enter the worlds that come with the thoughts? Who owns my thoughts? They don’t have to be mine, they could be anyone’s.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 3: How is my hand like Buddha’s hand? This koan asks us to let the whole of our being fall into it, to love without reservation the experience of being made of flesh.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 2: We usually understand things by taking them up to the top floor of the mind and finding a slot they fit into. Koans are meant to open a different way of being and thinking. Instead of preparing you to understand your life, a koan prepares you to walk through your life.
Zenosaurus Curriculum 1: When the Buddha was growing up, his father kept four sights from him. The forbidden sights were a sick person, an old person, a corpse, and a pilgrim dedicated to the meditation path.
So, there’s a spaciousness inside all situations, is what I’m saying. We’re walking through them, and underneath our feet there’s space and light around us—and we’re walking through space and light. And knowing that then is the source, I think, of empathy and love—but we accompany each other. And we don’t have to take ourselves or each other so seriously. We don’t have to advocate for the direness of the human condition, which is something we find a lot of. [laughs]
I think this is a time when things are kind of changing and incredibly uncertain, and that fidelity to what’s really true to us is important and valuable. And we don’t have to pretend that when difficulties are here, they’re not here. But also, we don’t have to pretend that they cancel the illumination, because nothing does, really. Even if we’re dying, the brightness of life is still there. And after we’re dead, we’ll worry about that later, [laughs] when the time comes in the bardos.
PZI Dharma Theme: “Guanyin Manifesting in the Elements: Space, Earth, Water, Air, Fire.” A Dharma Theme? It’s a gathering, a curation of events from our vast KALPA library, based in a theme that is current in our online sessions and practice. We’re offering a compilation of various types of files: transcript, audio, art, music, and video—all from PZI teachers.