PZI Teacher Archives

Text Library

There are 239 pieces here.

Text November 2, 2023

The Way Things Are Is Mysterious and Hard to See

Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

Allison, Tess and Jesse lead us into the heart of PZI practice—what it means to take refuge, how to work with vows as koans, and how, at its root, our life in itself before we’ve improved it is an expression of the Bodhisattva Way.

7365 Words
Text October 30, 2023

You Can’t Cage a Koan – Make It a Raft!

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

In the Blue Dragon’s cave, everything is there. If you think you haven’t seen a dragon, you may be wrong. In fact, who says you’re not a dragon? And if you think you don’t know about koans, you may be wrong, too. Who says you’re not a koan? Transcript of a dharma talk in Summer Sesshin 2020.

9009 Words

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Dharma Theme October 30, 2023

Dharma Theme: Stop Suffering!

PZI Teachers

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.

36 Words
Text October 30, 2023

Front Foot & Back Foot Walking

John Tarrant

One of the metaphors for awakening is spring. And don’t be afraid of how marvelous and powerful this thing is that’s carrying us, because it’s your nature and it’s a precious thing. And if we came here for anything, it’s that.

5459 Words

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Dharma Theme October 25, 2023
31 Words
Text August 24, 2023

The Nobility of Having a Practice

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

It’s not so hard to realize that practice is immediately beneficial. But there’s a deeper thing: meditation is a way to befriend your life and befriend reality. Some days just seem harder than others, right? And you come home and think, Oh, god. Practice is a good thing then. Practice, practice, practice.

5097 Words

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Poem August 2, 2023

Ceremonies: Spring Prospects

John Tarrant

Dufu’s The View This Spring, Changan, 757. This is a poem to be read in time of war.

93 Words

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Dharma Theme August 2, 2023

Dharma Theme: Sickness and Medicine

PZI Teachers

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.

55 Words

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Dharma Theme August 1, 2023

Dharma Theme: Friendships & Meetings – Relationships in the Dao, Then & Now

PZI Teachers

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.

180 Words

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Dharma Theme August 1, 2023

Dharma Theme: Dealing with Demons

PZI Teachers

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.

153 Words

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Dharma Theme August 1, 2023
51 Words
Text July 26, 2023

Carried in the Dark – On Lostness & the Spiral Path of Practice

John Tarrant

I’ve been thinking that everybody needs to start by being lost. And that the Dharma is a spiral path. It will happen again, and then again, and then again. So, when you are lost, instead of thinking, “This is an abnormal, wrong situation,” that’s what koans give us—they say, “Oh, well, I’m lost, fortunately. I don’t know what I’m doing.” 

4196 Words

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Dharma Theme July 26, 2023
19 Words
Text July 26, 2023

Dahui’s Journey, Bodhidharma’s Response, & the Marvelous Duke

John Tarrant

So, if you stop being afraid, if you stop being wonderful, if you stop being charming, if we stop charming each other, we’re just here in the vastness with no agenda, and that’s the Daoism that’s at the core of Chan. Emptiness is here. That’s what I think is a good thing.

5028 Words

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Dharma Theme July 25, 2023

Dharma Theme: Creatures of the Summer Dawn – Summer Sesshin 2023

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

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.

78 Words
Text July 14, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft Intro: A 6-Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

When we lead a group in the PZI tradition, we offer ourselves to something larger. Our small identity falls away to reveal a vessel that can ferry all beings deeper into the mystery of this life we share. This is no easy task. I’m pleased to offer an online 6-part training and support series for group facilitators. In the interest of maintaining focus, this series will be limited to those who are actively facilitating koan salons and cohort groups, or who plan to do so imminently.

384 Words
Text June 30, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft: Sitting in the Leader’s Seat Part 2 of 6 Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

For our second session, I’d like us to shine our light on the experience of sitting in the Leader’s Seat. I spoke briefly last time about the facilitator’s role in maintaining the vessel. In this next session, I’d like to dive deeper into the experience of doing that.

653 Words
Text June 28, 2023

Falling Into the Well of Sesshin

John Tarrant

The nice thing about falling is it’s already happened, you know? It started already; there’s not much you can do about it. So you’re kind of free, in a way. It’s sort of like being condemned: Knowing you’ll die tomorrow—well, you can do anything you want tonight.

4081 Words
Text June 23, 2023

We Are Interwoven

John Tarrant

It’s a noble thing to gather together for the Dharma. It has hidden effects, that if we thought about it from afar, we’d think, Ah, I don’t know. But when we’re together, we can feel, Oh, yeah, it’s happening. I can feel it in my heart and my soul and my fingers.

3004 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023
43 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023

Dharma Theme: Adrift

PZI Teachers

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.

15 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023
29 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023

Dharma Theme: Fire – The Extremes of Climate Change

PZI Teachers

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.

131 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023

Dharma Theme: The Ink Drawings of Hakuin Ekaku

Here you will find a sampling of ink drawings by the great Zen ancestor Hakuin Ekaku.

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023

Dharma Theme: Meeting the Inconceivable

PZI Teachers

What you can conceive of might take away your life. On the other hand, what you cannot conceive of will give you your life.

144 Words

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Dharma Theme May 12, 2023

Dharma Theme: Animal Teachers

PZI Teachers

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.

17 Words

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Dharma Theme May 10, 2023

Dharma Theme: Haiku for You

PZI Teachers

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.

566 Words

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Dharma Theme May 4, 2023
65 Words

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Dharma Theme May 1, 2023
135 Words

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Dharma Theme April 25, 2023

Dharma Theme: Descent! Darken Further

PZI Teachers

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.

42 Words