PZI Teacher Archives

Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation: 4 Teachers, Part 2 of Four


Four PZI Teachers explore Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation: Part 2 in the Series, recorded January 16, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding, Jordan McConnell, & PZI Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher.



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

Turn the light inward and witness your nature, which is empty nature.

—Verses from Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation

Hakuin lived in the 1700s, becoming a Zen monk at the early age of 14. Despite his early start in Zen, he would spend many years wandering, trying to find a teacher, trying to find his Way—that which would make sense for him alone.

He encountered great doubt about the path and about his practice: “Is it good if I do this? Or that?”

Tess Beasley talks about how we “take the bait”— believing that we are not doing what we should do or being what we should or should not be., and how that becomes a “doctrine” about oneself. to then defend or run away from.

We cannot rely on assessments from outside. Turn the light inwards. When nothing is happening, then reality starts to reveal itself.

Jesse Cardin adds, ” I don’t know what to talk about, I *should* always have something to say, *they* always have something to say, and this Hakuin song is boring.” [laughs wildly] He tells the story of a grocery pickup encounter that begins with an empoyee’s rude attitude and the desire to say “Fuck you” but it comes out as “Hey, how are you?” and the whole situation turns around.

Was either response wrong or right?

Allison Atwill talks about how our “doctrines” and sense of self are intertwined., and are actually the same thing. Tremendous effort is used for this project with not much left for life itself.

Instead of “I/they/it should or should not,” there could instead be:

This is happening
This is here.
This happened.

What is it like now?

Allison shares poems about snow, snowfall, snowflakes and especially the beautiful Transtromer poem, “Tracks:”

At 2 am, moonlight…

One must have the mind of winter…

Part 1 of Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation recorded Sunday, January 9, 2022.

Part 3 of Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation, recorded Sunday, January 23rd.

Part 4 of Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation recorded Sunday, January 30th.

Read More