Who is hearing this sound?
John Tarrant’s welcome and introduction to a special program on The Four Boundless Vows and the Bodhisattva path. We are each in the true temple; it’s always happening here, and everyone holds it. Meditation and opening words: the beauty of practice and of the path, the way we teach through stories in Zen, and inclusion of the Daoist view that “the world does fine on its own.” Excerpt from the Sunday session recorded August 1, 2021.
Audio Excerpt: PZI Winter Sesshin: Jon Joseph reads poems and reminds us that even deep in jumbled mountains the cuckoo is calling us home. 2 minutes.
John Tarrant talks about Chan’s encounter with Daoism and the Zhuangzi, replete with strange characters like “Crooked Carriage” and his friends. Chan took on their difficult times with stories and koans. Upheaval from Covid quarantine, riots over racism—koan meditation is a vessel for our times. Who’s concerned about the world? Who’s sad? We are in it together, so let’s vow to set endless heartache to rest. Koans and stories are ancient vials of light that help us now. PZI Zen Online, as recorded May 31, 2020.
Tonight I want to talk about another aspect of the koan about who’s hearing, who am I, what am I. There’s a spectrum I’ve been talking about so far for all of one previous talk. And I wanted to get at it slightly at an angle by going in through dreams, and the idea of is there a difference between what we’re doing and dreams anyway, which is certainly relevant to who we think we are.
Hakuin would paint that as a demon. This is demon number three. Which number demon is that? And the other things is that thing about how the thing we thought was the problem can transform, there is that real sense of what’s wrong with being a demon? If I think there’s a demon obviously I’m it.
The Zen Koan for summer sesshin was “Who Is Hearing?” The talk by John Tarrant and ensuing conversation regards the nature of the mind, and aspects of practice. June 22, 2011.