PZI Teacher Archives

The Whole World Is Medicine (BCR87)


Sickness and medicine are in accord with each other.
The whole world is medicine.
What am I?

—Blue Cliff Record Case 87 (PZI version)

See also: Yunmen’s Medicine and Sickness Cure Each Other,
transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland


Article September 13, 2021

Placebo, Chronic Fatigue, & Dormitive Principles

John Tarrant

I’m getting used to the thought that many things that seem as if they belong in the realm of the body are also influenced by the mind. Placebo studies indicate that even surgery can be a placebo. In medical school the faculty will sometimes say to students that they should use a drug a lot when it first comes out while people still believe in it. There is a Zen koan that goes “The whole world is medicine,” and the joke is that it could go, “The whole world is placebo.”

884 Words
Text October 22, 2020

The Nature of Practice

John Tarrant

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.

9236 Words
Audio December 3, 2019
55' 22"