PZI Teacher Archives
Taking Part in the Gathering
We and everything we perceive
are interwoven and not interwoven,
and this interweaving continues on and on,
while each thing stands in its own place.
—Excerpt from Taking Part in the Gathering, PZI translation of the sutra attributed to Shitou Xiqiang
Summer Sesshin: We Are Interwoven – Welcome to Sesshin
John Tarrant welcomes Summer Sesshin participants and introduces a stanza of Shitou’s long poem: Taking Part in the Gathering, as an opening koan. The poem comes from the inception of Chan and is described as a Daoist current on the nature of reality – how emptiness pervades form. Koans, Art, Meditation & Conversation are part of waking up together in PZI Culture. June 13, 2022.
It’s Hard? Then Let the Koan Carry You
Shitou says the dark and bright are both part of the deep work. When times are tough, trusting your koan and the deep current carrying us all, is the way forward. Mazu tells us we came here to make a way out of no way—koans help. Trust in this valuable process. From a talk given at Summer Sesshin in June 2022. 5 minutes.
Koans on the Journey of Refuge
From a talk given by Tess Beasley in Summer Sesshin on June 15, 2022. 3 minutes.
Forms of Awakening
Kensho is a real thing—and you can’t pin it down. Awakening takes many and varied forms. Long to really understand reality, and have the joy of that. From a talk given during Summer Sesshin on June 17, 2022. 12 minutes.
How the Great Matter Works Is Not Your Business!
From an evening talk given in Summer Sesshin on June 17, 2022. 3 minutes.
On the Meaning and Importance of Kanzeon
John answers a question at Summer Sesshin about the Sutra, and the Bodhisattva Guanyin’s importance in Zen. 3 minutes.
From a talk in Summer Sesshin on refuge and vows, given by Tess Beasley. Recorded June 15, 2022.
Front Foot & Back Foot Walking
John Tarrant reads Chan poet Su Dongpo (Tung-po) and comments on his journey through bright and dark. From a talk given in Summer Sesshin on June 17, 2022. 4 minutes.
Summer Sesshin: Journey of Refuge
Tess Beasley describes touchstones of the journey for participants taking refuge vows at Summer Sesshin. Refuge entails committing to the vows as koans, a ceremony with teachers and community, and receiving the rakusu. Complete talk in Summer Sesshin on June 18, 2022.
Jiashan Meets the Boat Monk
David tells the story of Jiashan’s awakening after being sent by Daowu to find the Boat Monk. From a talk given in Summer Sesshin, June 16, 2022.
Separation in the Realm of the Self
The exhaustion and effort of “making a me” often brings people to Zen. In retreat, we begin to see the contours of the self that causes us to suffer. From a talk in Summer Sesshin, June 16, 2022. 7 minutes.
Buddha Was Not Afraid of His Own Mind
Every time you sit, you are Buddha under the bodhi tree, having some portion of his enlightenment night. From a talk in Summer Sesshin, June 16, 2022. 5 minutes.
What It Is to Be Here
What is it to be here? Weaving and interweaving go on and on, while each thing stands in its own place. From a talk in Summer Sesshin, June 16, 2022. 3 minutes.
Control Is Not Your Friend
Relax into your meditation like a bird falls into the air. Practice is always here for you. We’re having this dream, now—we can’t hold onto it. Recorded at Summer Sesshin on June 14th, 2022. 4 minutes.
Our Part in the Gathering
It’s all here—we’re already taking part in the gathering. We each hold our part so we can experience it together. Recorded during Summer Sesshin on June 15, 2022. 4 minutes.
What It Is to Take Part in the Gathering
Sesshin is an opportunity to experience your own true nature, to help hold the retreat vessel for yourself and everyone else, and for not skipping out on what is troubling you. From a talk on the first day of Summer Sesshin, June 14, 2022. 10 minutes.
The Mysterious Source of the Bright
John Tarrant talks about the mysterious source of things at Summer Sesshin. Recorded on June 14, 2022. 3 minutes.
On Shitou’s Life & Poem: What Is in the Way of Freedom?
From John Tarrant’s opening talk on Taking Part in the Gathering, Shitou Xiqian’s song-poem on the nature of reality. Recorded at Summer Sesshin on June 14, 2022. 9 minutes.
Summer Sesshin: Opening Dharma Talk
Great Summer Sesshin, opening eve: Our first in-person sesshin in over 2 years, due to Covid. John Tarrant introduces Shitou’s song, Taking Part in the Gathering, his translation together with Joan Sutherland. In this sutra, Shitou is trying to say what reality actually is. The myriad things are your own self—you look at the world and the world looks back. Whatever appears, enter there! No being for countless eons has ever fallen out of Buddha nature. Recorded June 13th, 2022, at Santa Sabina Center.