PZI Teacher Archives

Hakuin's Praise Song for Meditation


All beings are Buddha by nature,
just as water and ice are the same.

Without water there’s no ice;
outside of beings, no Buddha.

People miss what’s in front of them
and go searching far from home. 

It’s sad, like someone standing in water
and crying out in thirst,
or a child from a rich family,
struggling among the poor.

We cycle through heavens and hells
because we keep setting out 
on the dark roads of ignorance—
dark road after dark road,
when will we be free from birth and death?

Meditation can’t be praised enough.
The good effects of generosity and discipline, 
prayer, self-reflection, and practice, 
have their source in meditation.

With what you gain from just one sitting,
all your crimes are wiped away.

Then where are those heavens and hells?
The Pure Land comes near.  

If this way moves you
the first time you hear it, 
and you simply follow it,
endless blessings come to you.

Even more, if you turn the light inward
and witness your own nature,
your nature which is empty nature,
you go beyond any doctrine.

The gate opens: cause and effect are one,
there’s no two, no three.
The formless form comes into form;
going or returning, we are in the right place.

Thinking thoughts without thought,
singing and dancing are the voice of the way.

The vast emptiness of deep meditation,
the brightness of the bright moon of wisdom—
is anything missing from this moment?

Nirvana  appears before us.
This very place is paradise,
this very body, the Buddha.  

—Hakuin Ekaku (transl. John Tarrant)

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
Text February 15, 2022

Dharma Theme: Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation

Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, Michelle Riddle, Tess Beasley

Here is a curation of four dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening, from Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation 4-Part Special Sunday Series with PZI Teachers Allison, Tess, Michelle, & Jesse. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple on January 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2022.

312 Words
Text May 8, 2020

Joy, Mosquitoes & Zen

John Tarrant

Joy and peace don’t stop the mosquitoes from biting. All these things have their source in meditation.  So you want to open your heart.  You want to –whatever it is – during meditation.  That’s what he’s saying.  Right.  It comes from within.

2815 Words