PZI Teacher Archives
There’s a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form. It knows how to listen to the teachings, it knows how to understand the teachings, it knows how to teach. That solitary brightness is you.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 38c (Record of Linji)
Meet Great Ancestor Linji: “A nine-colored Phoenix, a thousand-mile horse.” That’s how Linji was described in early Chan times.
John Tarrant gives a talk on Zhaozhou’s NO: This koan is often offered as a first “gate,” but I think you need to already be in trouble and falling before it’s useful. Life is always offering us that cliff—that door of falling. When you’re falling, you can’t screw it up because actually there’s not a lot you can do. But what you do will be very free and won’t be constrained by the usual. From a recording made in Fall Sesshin 2022.
How do we set the mind at rest in times of war and turbulence? The practice was made in and for times like these. The art of practice is to be at peace in the middle of all the forces: climate change, disaster, war, disease, famine. Jordan McConnell chants a dharani, a sacred spell to ward off danger and dispel demons. Can’t hurt! February 27, 2022.
A student asks Baizhang, “What is the most marvelous thing—a matter of special worth?” He answers, “Sitting alone on Mt. Courage Peak.” The vastness is always there, inside and outside. The possibility of imaginative responses in times of change. The wisdom of an indigenous storyteller who embodies a much longer timeline of radical earth changes. The freedom of not being you. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Dec. 13, 2020. Music posted separately.
Our lives right now are an exercise in not knowing. Surprising intimacy comes in new forms of communication and meditation. But really, there is nothing to hold onto. And that vastness is filled with light. Sunday Zen session recorded July 16, 2020.
Summer Sesshin: Into the Blue Dragon’s Cave – Sunday morning talk. Small things, small moments of rest, peace, & awakening, like “thank you.” Appreciating discarded treasures. The very things that imprison us hold the freedom, if we can host them—being at home with them. The storehouse ONLY opens by itself—no prying or forcing. “Returning” in meditation. Leonard Cohen sings How the Light Gets In. As recorded on July 28, 2020.
The light in us is wholly unharmed even in extremes of suffering, a place for the Muses to meet us. Allison talks about Anna Swir’s poem, There’s a Light in Me. When we hold light and silence everyone can feel it it changes the field. Sunday Zen session recorded June 16th, 2020.
Solitude as resting in vastness: taking the role of host everywhere and abiding nowhere. Loneliness—you may even be in the company of others, but something is missing. Allison revisits childhood’s solitude and the solitude of mountain trails. Abiding “somewhere” keeps us out of vastness.
John Tarrant speaks of fire sirens and the Queensland Magpie singing, and walks us through the ancient forests he knew as a child. How do we live the life we live in the face of this vast change? What is this? As recorded in Winter Session 2020.
John Tarrant walks us through the ancient forests he knew as a child. Fire sirens, the Queensland Magpie singing, and Linji’s Solitary Brightness. How do we live the life we have, in the face of vast change? Audio recording from Winter Sesshin 2020.
A discovery that all the Linji koans we are working with during the retreat are variants on Linji’s “There’s nothing I dislike.” They all appear from this core. The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours. If you “only don’t object” or exclude reality, the brightness is there. As recorded in Summer Sesshin 2016.