PZI Teacher Archives
Deshan visited Longtan and questioned him sincerely far into the night. It grew late and Longtan said, “Why don’t you retire?” Deshan made his bows and lifted the blinds to withdraw, but was met by darkness.
Turning back he said, “It is dark outside.” Longtan lit a paper candle and handed it to Deshan. Deshan was about to take it when Longtan blew it out. At this, Deshan had sudden realization and made bows. Longtan said, “What truth did you discern?” Deshan said, “From now on I will not doubt the words of an old master who is renowned everywhere under the sun.”
—Gateless Gate, Case 28
We’re always looking for a recipe or data points to get a handle on happiness. The most profoundly simple but difficult challenge is to let ourselves transform into ourselves. We imagine a different, better self “after awakening.” Every stroke, even the most difficult or painful, is part of the piece. Our journey through suffering transforms everything, including the destination.
One of the metaphors for awakening is spring. And don’t be afraid of how marvelous and powerful this thing is that’s carrying us, because it’s your nature and it’s a precious thing. And if we came here for anything, it’s that.
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.
Deshan is determined to prove his scholarly certainty. He encounters two teachers who help him see the light. John talks about refuge; What is it? Why take refuge? What is the rakusu? PZI’s approach—working with refuge vows as koans. Zen ultimately rests in mystery and uncertainty. Linji says, “Have confidence in the light always working inside you.” Music with Jordan McConnell. Sunday talk as recorded Feb. 28th, 2021.
John Tarrant on the journey into awakening in Zen and in our lives, and how it purifies. Deshan’s cart full of Diamond Sutra commentaries and our own strategies of resistance. Music from Jesse Cardin, Amaryllis Fletcher, Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded November 15, 2020.
Jesse reimagines Deshan’s classic enlightenment story. He looks at some of the essential features of the journey of awakening, how we make koans our own, and the role that imagination plays in Zen. PZI Zen Online. Audio as recorded April 22, 2020.