PZI Teacher Archives
One day Changsha went wandering in the mountains. When he returned, the head of practice met him at the gate and asked, “Where have you been?”
“Wandering in the mountains.”
“Where did you go?”
“I went out following scented grasses and returned chasing falling blossoms.” “That’s so much the feeling of spring,” said the head of practice.
“Still, it’s better than autumn dew dripping on lotus flowers,” said Changsha.
Xuedou comments: “Thanks for your reply.”
—Blue Cliff Record Case 36 (transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland)
When we wake up and see our true place in the universe, it’s as if we have stepped out of a landscape and then we’re willing to step back into it. We appear and go back into the brocade. Then, we have our true place in the universe.
The mind is a great artist, ceaselessly creating and assessing problems. The territory of the koan is finding the delicious helplessness of the mind and body, and settling into that—it’s the robe of the moment.
Eventually you come to a place where you can’t go on and you can’t go back. You have arrived at the base of cliffs; you can’t scale them, you can’t get around them, and there’s no handy tunnel through them. It’s a daunting place—that’s the point of it. And when you arrive here your life and your journey can become your own.
John Tarrant begins with a wild Daoist story from the Zhuangzi, about a giant fish named Kun. The freedom is in your own breast and the koan path opens the way. Includes meditation segments, music from Michael Wilding, vows from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor. PZI Zen Online. As recorded May 2, 2021.
Sensei Allison Atwill gives a teaching on an old teaching story, a koan, handed down from more than a thousand years ago in China. Changsha was a student of Nanchuan and he was a contemporary of many great teachers, Linji and Zhaozhou among them. It was the golden age of Zen Buddhism. Recorded June 29, 2012.
Roshi David Weinstein continues with the koan for Summer sesshin, “Where have you been?” “I went out following the scented grass and came back chasing the falling blossoms.” June 26, 2012.
Roshi John Tarrant presents on the koan, “Where have you been?” “I went out following the scented grass and came back chasing the falling blossoms.” Going on retreat is like stepping through a door. You never know what you will find on the other side of the door: scented grass, falling blossoms, or the vastness. June 28, 2012.
Opening night dharma talk Summer sesshin on the koan “Where have you been?” “Wandering about the hills. I went out following the scented grass and came back chasing the falling blossoms.” June 24, 2012.