PZI Teacher Archives

Rhinoceros Fan BCR91)(BS25)


Once upon a time in China, the governor gave a rare fan carved of rhinoceros horn to a Zen master, who forgot about it. Then he remembered. One day, he called to his attendant, “Bring me the rhinoceros fan.” The attendant replied, “It is broken.” The master said, “In that case, bring me the rhinoceros.”

—Blue Cliff Record Case 91 & Book of Serenity Case 25 (PZI version)

See also: Yanguan’s Rhinoceros transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland


Article September 14, 2021

1, 2, 3, 4, Rhinoceros

John Tarrant

When we are not bound by the story of our lives—the fictions, really—and not bound by the effort of knowing what everything is and where it’s going and what it should be, then a new kind of freedom appears. The body feels that and becomes at ease. You experience the wonder and beauty of just being here in the world of consciousness. 

1555 Words
Text August 14, 2020

Spirit of Love, Joy & Play in Koans

John Tarrant

Value a sort of play and see if you can break the koan—the koan will be amused. And see it and let it into your heart, and see what comes, or follow it around, or have it follow you. And finally you’ll realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m free.”

5545 Words
Misc November 27, 2017


Excerpt November 15, 2017

Meeting the Inconceivable – from John Tarrant’s ‘Bring Me the Rhinoceros’

John Tarrant

You might think of consciousness as a lamp, making a cone of light on the surface of a desk. Outside the yellow circle everything is dark and unknown. The usual way of approaching things is to try to extend the yellow circle into the darkness. Or perhaps to drag objects in from the dark. That is conceivable. This meditation takes things the other way. n.d.

422 Words