Animals give us the gifts of their living presence, and we feel the profound effect they have on our lives. Animals surprise and enlarge us. We become the animal we are seeing, and that is a primary Zen move. The way we become the world that we are part of, is a profound part of Zen.
Links to Audio, Video, & Text on the topic
Animals give us the gifts of their living presence, and we feel the profound effect they have on our lives.
Animals surprise and enlarge us. We become the animal we are seeing, and that is a primary Zen move. The way we become the world that we are part of, is a profound part of Zen.
Animal koans are really about you, and the question,
What is it like to have a self?
AUDIO: Animal Heart Mind – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Fall 2021
TEXT: A Dog’s Life – John Tarrant on the death of a beloved dog,
She knew what she was doing, and that’s why she dogged.
—from the Zhaozhou’s Dog koan
AUDIO: Yes, She Knew What She Was Doing! – Allison Atwill, Winter Sesshin 2016
ZHAOZHOU’S DOG and the Great Koan NO
Someone asked Zhaozhou, “Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?”
Zhaozhou said, “No.”—Gateless Gate Case 1
Getting Started with NO
TEXT: Starter Kit for the Koan NO – John Tarrant, Fall 2017
TEXT: Two Pieces on the Great Koan NO – John Tarrant, from the Zenosaurus Course in Koans
TEXT: Falling with the Koan NO – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2022
TEXT: Your Life Is Right Here – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2018
VIDEO: Enter Here, Just Turn to the Koan – John Tarrant, Summer Sesshin 2022
VIDEO: The First Dog and NO – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2019
AUDIO: Falling with NO – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2022
AUDIO: Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature? NO! – David Parks, Spring 2020
A Collection of Talks from Winter Sesshin 2016
AUDIO: The Dog Part of the Koan NO – John Tarrant, Winter Sesshin 2016
AUDIO: The Art and Craft of Koan Practice – John Tarrant, Winter Sesshin 2016
AUDIO: Nobody Meets Buddha Nature – David Weinstein, Winter Sesshin 2016
AUDIO: The Space between Yes and No – Jon Joseph, Winter Sesshin 2016
ARTWORK: The Great Koan NO – PZI Art Card #9 designed by Corey Hitchcock 2018
KOAN: Dogs at Midnight
VIDEO: Stop the Dogs Barking at Midnight! – Allison Atwill, Sunday Zen, Spring 2020
John Tarrant tells a shaggy-dog transformation tale that includes a strange journey, a fox, carp, tiger, dragon’s cave, and a meeting with the Buddha.
STORY AUDIO: The Transformations in Things – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Winter 2022
AUDIO: Jays, Squirrels, & Humans: Picking & Choosing Is Life
– David Weinstein, Summer Sesshin 2021
DHARMA THEME: Baizhang’s Fox – Cause and Effect in a Fox Life
KOAN: Yunmen’s Golden-Haired Lion
AUDIO: The Lion with the Golden Hair – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Summer 2013
TEXT: The Lion with the Golden Hair – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Summer 2013
KOAN: The Strawberry
ANOTHER KOAN: The Tiger’s Kindness
AUDIO: Taking the Risk: Meditating with a Tyger at the Summer Lake – Sunday Zen, Summer 2021,
with Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley & Michelle Riddle
KOAN: Donkey Sees a Well
AUDIO: Donkey Sees Well, Well Sees Donkey – John Tarrant, Spring Sesshin 2021
AUDIO: Evening Words with David Weinstein – Audio clip from Spring Sesshin 2021
AUDIO: A Donkey Sees a Well – Jon Joseph, Winter Sesshin 2022
AUDIO: Self and Ox Forgotten – Jon Joseph, Monday Zen, Spring 2021
AUDIO: The Ox Follows: Ox-Herding Pictures 4 & 5 – Jon Joseph, Monday Zen, Spring 2021
KOAN: Buffalo through the Window
VIDEO: The Buffalo and the Lattice Window – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2013
VIDEO: The Question of the Tail – David Weinstein, Fall Sesshin 2013
TEXT: Koans in Your Life – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2013
ANOTHER KOAN: I Ride the Water Buffalo
In your meditation, hold this question: How will I bring the rhinoceros?
In life, if you have had a terrible experience, or lost someone dear to you, you might think that you will not be able to survive or that you will never be happy again. It is easy to imagine that.
However if you rely on the inconceivable you cannot know what will happen. When you drink coffee you are not different before and after the loss.
What you can conceive of might take away your life. On the other hand, what you cannot conceive of will give you your life.
Once upon a time in China, the governor gave a rare fan carved of rhinoceros horn to a Zen Master, who forgot about it. Then he remembered. He called to his assistant, “Bring me the rhinoceros fan.” The assistant said, “It is broken.” The master said, “In that case, bring me the rhinoceros.”
—Blue Cliff Record Case 91
AUDIO: Enlightenment & Jam: Shopping for a Rhinoceros – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Spring 2022
TEXT: Meeting the Inconceivable – excerpt from Bring Me the Rhinoceros by John Tarrant
TEXT: 1, 2, 3, 4, Rhinoceros! – article by John Tarrant, Inquiring Mind magazine, Spring 2005
KOAN: Jade Elephant
TEXT: Running Things Backwards – from John Tarrant’s
Zenosaurus Course in Koans
ANOTHER KOAN: Riding
Related Materials and Koans
You think you’re a butterfly, a rooster.
Then when you wake up, you manufacture a ‘you’ again, and you think it’s probably the same ‘you’ that you had, but you don’t even know that. It’s subtly different, your mood is different.
Slowly I cross a brook and extinguish its sound.
Freely I watch the tracks of the flying birds.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 23
AUDIO: Freely I Watch the Tracks of the Flying Birds – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2021
TEXT: Freely I Watch the Tracks of the Flying Birds – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen Spring 2020
ANOTHER KOAN: Dark Way, Bird Path, Open Hand
VIDEO: The Bird Path – John Tarrant, Summer Sesshin 2017
DUCK & GOOSE
DUCK KOAN: Golden Duck Vanishes into Gold Brocade, Little Jade
AUDIO: Yuanwu & the Great Masters of the Blue Cliff – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2021
TEXT: Yuanwu & the Great Masters of the Blue Cliff – John Tarrant, Fall Sesshin 2021
ANOTHER DUCK: Master Ma’s Wild Duck
GOOSE KOAN: Goose in the Bottle
VIDEO: Predicament Koans: The Goose in the Bottle – John Tarrant,
Sunday Zen, Fall 2022
KOAN: Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was a Butterfly
VIDEO: Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was a Butterfly – John Tarrant, Summer Sesshin 2019
ANOTHER KOAN: When the Rain Beats Down
AUDIO: Solstice, Juneteenth, A Butterfly Flies Up! – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Summer 2020
TEXT: Solstice, Juneteenth, A Butterfly Flies Up! – John Tarrant, Sunday Zen, Summer 2020
DHARMA THEME: DRAGONS & MAGICAL CREATURES