Text Library

There are 30 pieces here.

Text November 24, 2017

A Beautiful Mistake

John Tarrant

“We all have the urge to be better people, and behind all our self-improvement there is a profound impulse. Self-improvement is a gateway, the first step in a quest, a clue to a deeper life. The most beautiful form of the beautiful life is inner freedom, the awakening taught in the ancient spiritual traditions.” Published Shambhala Sun Magazine, September 2013.

3374 Words
Text November 24, 2017

There is No Future, Really

Rachel Boughton

“The morning after an unaccustomed shock brings thoughts about how much I really know about the future, and curiosity about the possibilities of living in the present.” November 9, 2016.

648 Words
Text November 24, 2017

How to Welcome the End of the World

John Tarrant

“How to meet the times we are in is a real question, and everybody feels the force of it. It is an ancient question. It comes with being human.” Published in Lion’s Roar, January 2016.

18 Words
Text November 24, 2017

Navigating a Disaster: How Do We Do This?

Rachel Boughton

“How to deal with difficult times is fundamental for a spiritual practice, and really, for any human life. There’s birth and death, to start with, and then there is all the conflict and uncertainty that happens in between.” January 2017.

1627 Words
Text November 24, 2017

How to Practice Zen Koans

John Tarrant

“A koan is a little healing story, a conversation, an image, a fragment of a song. It’s something to keep you company, whatever you are doing. There’s a tradition of koan study to transform your heart and the way you move in the world.” March 2016.

15 Words
Text November 24, 2017

Living in the Moment

Allison Atwill

“Good morning. This morning I wanted to talk a little bit about the experience of relying on the moment that we’re in to make itself. . . .” July 2013.

3511 Words
Text November 24, 2017

Fire…Living at the Corner of Lucky and Unlucky

Rachel Boughton

“Koan: Two monks roll up the blinds in exactly the same way. The teacher looks at them and says, ‘One gains, one loses.'” October 17, 2017.

1608 Words
Text November 15, 2017

A Koan Starter Kit

John Tarrant

“Working with a koan can make the world more transparent and alive and at the same time shift your consciousness in small and large ways. It’s a work of art as well as a spiritual method and intended to be useful in your life and contribute to your happiness.”

541 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Five Reasons

John Tarrant

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the beginning of November and here is what I’ve noticed.” February 21, 2006.

2294 Words
Text November 15, 2017

The Great Way is Not Difficult

John Tarrant

“Koans light up a life that may have been dormant in you; they hold out the possibility of transformation even if you are trying to address unclear or apparently insoluble problems.” Originally published in Shambhala Sun Magazine, November 2004.

3028 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Hindrances and Gates

John Tarrant

“In meditation whatever arises in the mind or in your life is the gate. . . . The hindrances are the gates; when they appear, it might be an indication that meditation is going well.” n.d.

805 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Meditation as a Basis for Healing

John Tarrant

“What are the essentials of the meditation path as a basis for this healing — healing of both person and culture?” August 2006.

2899 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Meeting the Inconceivable

John Tarrant

You might think of consciousness as a lamp, making a cone of light on the surface of a desk. Outside the yellow circle everything is dark and unknown. The usual way of approaching things is to try to extend the yellow circle into the darkness. Or perhaps to drag objects in from the dark. That is conceivable. This meditation takes things the other way. n.d.

422 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Reading Poetry for Zen

John Tarrant

“Some years ago I wrote a piece called ‘Soul in Zen’ in which I opposed the archetypes of spirit and soul. Spirit was seen as moving towards clarity, light and the eternal, while soul was the domain of the evanescent, the suffering, the beautiful.” n.d.

453 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Return to the (Political) World

John Tarrant

In the last of the famed ox-herding pictures, the disciple returns to the world with open, helping hands. That includes, says Zen teacher John Tarrant, the messy, neurotic, imperfect world of politics, the very place where the bodhisattva way is practiced and our realization is put on the line. Originally published in Shambhala Sun Magazine, May 2006.

2276 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Silver Cliffs and Iron Mountains

John Tarrant

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. The Japanese teacher Hakuin called this the Silver Cliffs and Iron Mountains. 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.

1248 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Standing at the Edge

John Tarrant

Right now, as we sit here, we are standing at the edge of a cliff. On every side there is a great drop. Right now, what do you experience standing on the edge of this great cliff? Whatever you experience standing here, that is your life. At the end of your days you’ll say, “This is what I did.” So what do you experience standing on the edge of the cliff?

665 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Starter Kit for the Koan NO

John Tarrant

A monk once asked Master Joshu, “Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?” Joshu said, “No!”

284 Words
Text November 15, 2017

The Moon Sets at Midnight

John Tarrant

We have such a passion to know and to be certain but, in practice, much of what we think of as knowledge is just untested thoughts. As the Heart Sutra says, even thoughts are empty, and if we are willing not to know, willing to walk through life without believing every thought that rises, then we’ll find a path out of suffering.

3724 Words
Text November 15, 2017

The Power of Koan Practice

John Tarrant

3992 Words

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