The Stone in the Sea of Ise

KOAN:

a. In the Sea of Ise, ten thousand feet down, lies a single stone.
I want to pick up that stone
without getting my hands wet.

b. Here is the stone, inscribed with three lines:

1 The top line is a signature.
2 The right line reads, “Cannot get wet.”
3 The left line reads, “Cannot get dry.”

– PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 27

From an 8th century C.E. imperial Japanese song. The Shrine at Ise is the most sacred site of Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion. It is sacred to foxes. This is one of the few Japanese koans in the curriculum.

Audio November 1, 2021

Fall Sesshin 2021: Mysterious Tasks & Impossible Problems – The Stone

John Tarrant

John Tarrant gives an evening dharma talk on the incalculable value of descent and return. We take up the task set by the ancestors: that’s what we came here for. As recorded in Fall Sesshin, October 21, 2021.

56' 54"
Text August 23, 2020

Predicament Koans – John Tarrant 2013

John Tarrant

So, rather than thinking a predicament is something we’ve got to get rid of, it’s just life—and it has its own dynamism. Maybe we have to walk through it, not run the other way. It’s all right to weep about it, or be frustrated and angry. You can’t be someone else, you are who you are. The gateway is yours, not someone else’s. From recording at Summer Sesshin, July 11 2013, Santa Sabina.

2261 Words
Audio May 20, 2020

Adamantine Sea – Dream Diving

Jon Joseph

Audio PZI Zen Online- The koan: Sea of Ise inspires Covid dreaming. Dream vacation: scuba diving in Brooklyn Harbor? What is feared opens to beauty. The dark Sea of Brooklyn held a surprise. As recorded May 18 2020

83' 45"
Audio April 15, 2020

10,000 Feet Down, the Stone

John Tarrant

John takes us further into our lockdown descent with a predicament koan that interrupts our usual ways of navigating, into the Sea of Ise, 10,000 feet down, to a single stone. Session includes John’s talk and koan, meditation segments, closing music, and participating teachers’ comments. As recorded April 5, 2020.

80' 53"