PZI Teacher Archives
It’s past midnight
The moon has not yet risen.
In the deep thick dark you see but don’t recognize
a familiar face from long ago
No need to be surprised by that.
—from the Record of Dongshan, The Five Ranks (1st Rank)
What you can conceive of might take away your life. On the other hand, what you cannot conceive of will give you your life.
These dharma talks and texts, like Dongshan’s First Rank, wander in the hours before moonrise when anything can appear. Being lost, or in the dark, is a necessary condition on the Way.
An encounter, a magical meeting, is the essence of koan practice. John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk, recorded July 10, 2022. Complete session. 70 minutes.
John Tarrant on a meeting past midnight with an old familiar face that you may or may not recognize right off. When there is no moon and you can’t find your way in the usual way, you are bound to have some unusual encounters. Stories, readings, comments, and music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Complete Sunday Session recorded on June 12, 2022.
Awakening comes when you least expect it. Zen ancestor Koun Yamada returned from a retreat feeling deeply uncertain. Then dream life confirmed his awakening. Recorded June 12, 2022. 2-minute video.
In our Zen practice, there comes a time when you can feel stuck. John Tarrant talks about how to navigate this. Recorded June 12, 2022. 3-minute video.
John Tarrant on a meeting past midnight, with an old familiar face you may or may not recognize right off. When there is no moon and you can’t find your way in the usual way, you are bound to have some unusual encounters. Stories, readings, comments, and music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Complete Sunday Session audio. Recorded June 12, 2022.
John Tarrant tells a story about meeting whatever arises, in preparation for PZI’s first in-person retreat since Covid, and for other unexpected encounters. Meeting your true self: Turning toward the fire gives you your life. And, “Meeting the old familiar face from long ago,” from the first of Dongshan’s Five Ranks. The only now we have is ours, as intense and real as it might be. So, have your life! Being lost is better than being right. Recorded June 12, 2022. 9-minute video.
Tess Beasley comments on the way dreams of awakening can be huge or small, in image and duration. She reads Hakuin’s amazing awakening dream record from his journal. As recorded on December 5, 2021, during John Tarrant’s Dreams of Awakening Sunday session.
With dreams, whatever part touches your heart, that’s the part you want. The universe is providing these personal and archetypal myths in the perfect formulation for your awakening. Dreams help us because we can’t control them. The gold is wherever you are. As recorded December 5, 2021. Music from Michael Wilding & 4 vows from Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. Comments and dream stories from Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley, Michelle Riddle, and others.
Teachers’ dreams often feature magical ways of feeding an entire community. Michelle Riddle’s remarkable giant pancake dream came after being asked to respond to a teaching from John Tarrant. Excerpt from John Tarrant’s Sunday session on dreams, on December 5, 2021.
Dreams help us because we can’t control them. You have it already and are looking past it. The light is wherever you are. Excerpt from John Tarrant’s complete Sunday session on December 5, 2021. 32 minutes.
Handing Things On in the Dark. The dark silent time of this year has lasted for 9 months, in Covid. “The whole meaning of your life is in the current matter happening now.” No explaining it. “To be deeply in Zen is to be deeply in how to express it.” The first vaccines are here. The mysterious freedoms of this time, welcoming the new year, and a tour of the deep thick dark of midnight. John reads poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins, Anna Swir, Czeslaw Milosz, and more. Music from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Jan 3, 2021.
PZI Zen Online: Excerpt from John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk—Handing Things On in the Dark. A 10-minute meditation on finding a face at midnight. As recorded Jan. 3rd 2021.
PZI Zen Online: Excerpt from Handing Things On in the Dark. The freshness of the new year, the dark silent time of the year. To be deeply in zen is to be deeply in how to express it. The mysterious freedoms of the dark. As recorded Jan. 3, 2021. 2 minutes.
PZI Zen Online: Excerpt from the last Journey Into Awakening on the last Sunday of 2020. Meeting the intangible in the dark. Showing up for mysterious possibility. Trusting the mystery to make a feast of this strange time. Zen is familiar with impossible tasks! Showing up for them is a blessing for others too. As recorded Dec. 20, 2020. 15 minutes.
We are in a time ‘before moonlight’ with Covid and the resulting massive unemployment, with great unknowns ahead. Dreams in Zen are not so different from waking life. We make up stories about what will happen. But we are passing through a gate of meeting and not recognizing. How do you make your way? Step by step. As recorded May 25, 2020.
This is from an old Chinese poet, and koans and poems were always, poems, koans, koans, poems, they’re always somewhat intertwined in their history. And so often poems were used as koans and vice versa. This is a series of five poems by an old Chinese teacher called Dongshan, who kind of did a map of the Way in five stages, because everybody knows there are five stages for the Way [laughter].