Step by step in the dark
If my foot’s not wet,
I found the stone
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 72
Zen koan meditation practice and creative process enhance each other. David Weinstein Roshi of Rockridge Meditation Center (Oakland), hosts a conversation with sumi artist and teacher Michael Hofmann and musician and luthier Jordan McConnell. Insights abound on creative process in music and in visual art when combined with koan practice.
John Tarrant talks about living in an underworld time, in a descent as a culture and as a world, and as a planet. Accepting the descent, and accepting the quality of being lost when it appears, is profoundly important. And there’s a great, strange, and interesting mystery in that.
John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and Linji. The love, and attention, and faithfulness at the heart of the stories and teachings of the Chan ancestors is their gift to us. And everything we bring to it is an addition into this great heritage, and is part of the layering. Transcript from a video talk in Fall Sesshin 2019.
Summer is a time of dreams. Dreams, summertime, and koans have a lot in common. It is a time of permeability, to feel your way. Things that come out of the depths are what will get us through, but we can also have a strange resistance to them! The imagination is the bridge to the new. John shares Yangshan’s dream koan of being asked to teach from the third seat.
Practice. The notion of practice, as something you embody, and you walk through, and you are—rather than something you add, like something added to gasoline. There’s also a sense of moving in the dark, in some way that’s positive. So that in a practice, “not knowing” is on your side.
John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and his teachings. In the layered quality of the teachings there is a common thread in our lineage: we are all in it together, all held by this great path, we put ourselves in the vessel and see what happens. Each of us holds a piece of the story—trust the piece you hold. As recorded Fall Sesshin 2019.