PZI Teacher Archives

Hanging by Your Teeth (GG5)

KOAN:

The teacher said, “It’s as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can’t touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the trees and asks,

‘What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?’

If you do not answer, you evade your responsibility. If you do answer, you lose your life. What do you do?”

—Gateless Gate Case 5

Video February 14, 2023

Carried in the Dark – Lostness Is a Spiral Path

John Tarrant

Second evening Dharma talk of Winter Sesshin. Getting ahold of something is not the point in Yunmen’s koan of darkness – start by being lost! The dharma is a spiral path of lostness. What will happen next? it’s dark. We’re here no matter what. When you think okay, I’m lost, what’s next? Next is a predicament koan from Shang Yen and you are hanging by your teeth from a branch. A story of a teacher being carried in the dark. Shang Yen student of Baizhang and Guishan who gives us this koan worked with the koan Original Face for years and was stuck in the dark until the ‘one tock’ of a rock on bamboo awakened him. Trusting in the dark is the way – it is not our business how we awaken. No being has ever fallen out of their great true nature. No moment outside of wonder. The heart opens. February 2, 2023

36' 15"
Video September 30, 2022

Hanging from a Branch by Your Teeth

John Tarrant

Predicament koans give a nod to the perilous, loony nature of life right now. It is the dangerous situation of being alive—anything can happen. Linji said, “We can’t stay here long,” so relish it! Even in the middle of a disaster you can have a marvelous time. What constitutes a predicament? You oppose what is happening, by overlaying what should be going on. Music for meditation from Jordan McConnell & Michael Wilding. Recorded in the Sunday Temple on September 11, 2022.

74' 47"