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)

Video August 15, 2023

The Nobility of Having a Practice

John Tarrant

Meditation gets us away from reaching and grasping and winning and losing and honor and disgrace. This lack of ulterior motive makes meditation a friendly time. All our daily reaching and grasping and getting somehow sticks to us and when we meditate it unsticks and falls off. With music for meditation from Jordan McConnell & Michael Wilding.

49' 8"
Video August 1, 2023

Carried by Kindness & Joy

Tess Beasley

The urgency of some questions and facing hidden truths help us discover our own true nature. We reveal ourselves at every turn. When we try to see our own light, we can’t—”it’s dark, dark,” says Yunmen. During sesshin, we sit and trust our own heart-mind to open, inquiring, “Who am I?” and, “How is this so?”

40' 32"
Video July 12, 2022
4' 3"
Video October 24, 2018
16' 3"