PZI Teacher Archives
In a well that was never dug
water ripples from a spring that doesn’t flow.
Someone with no shadow or form
is drawing the water.
Pacific Zen Miscellaneous Koans, Case 22 (from a poem by Ikkyu)
Images of water are deep in the meditation tradition. There is the notion that water nourishes us and holds us, and that the Dao flows like water and always finds the Way. Whatever blocks the river, the Dao dissolves it or will move around it. That’s the quality of meditation.
John Tarrant talks about Ikkyu’s “no shadow or form” in his evening dharma talk in Day 2 of Fall Sesshin. Amanda Boughton sings the 4 Boundless vows. As recorded Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
Green Glade of Meditation: There is a framework in our practice for relying on emptiness and freedom, not holding pre-set views. Blessing things beyond approval and disapproval. I am you = emptiness. In Zen we shift to “before” the demons grabbed our ankles. You can’t rely on what you believe. We accord with the Dao, we can’t fall out of the dream. PZI Zen online, as recorded July 19, 2020.
I want to describe the process that I went through, over the last year of making the painting, and I want to do that in the spirit of “when something arises, don’t believe it, and shine your light on it.” So in a year a lot of things can arise not to believe, and they did. But even if you’re in the meditation hall, five minutes is probably long enough for plenty to arrive not to believe in.