Yunmen taught, “Everybody has a light inside. When you’re looking for it, you can’t see; it’s dark, dark, hidden. What is this light that everybody has?”
He himself answered, “The kitchen pantry, the entrance gate.”
Then he said, “It’s better to have nothing than something good.”
—The Blue Cliff Record, Case 86
Deep in Summer Sesshin, we are in the middle of the Blue Cliff Record. We, ourselves, are under the Blue Cliff, with Yunmen and Yunmen’s friends. We are all those people. The Blue Cliff is still being written, and we’re helping out with that project.
We’re in a time that is difficult, but it is our time—and difficulty is not the only thing going on. Creativity is also present, but it is easy to be crazy right now. The old masters understood this situation. September 5, 2021.
“You must in the destructive element immerse…” You have to go through it otherwise you can’t have real resolution. Not fleeing the difficulty of things, and orienting yourself to the infinite. “A person on a raft flows on the stream by throwing themselves away.” The importance of the smallest things in the this-is-it dream.
Here is a curation of sesshin dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening. A sesshin is always more than the sum of its parts or its recorded talks. There are morning rituals, greetings, incense passed magically through the screen, the changing light, rich silences, moments of humor, tech gremlins, tears, synchronicities, dogs barking, dreams, and awakenings that we share. It is the timeless play of the universe, with each other. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple, June 22-27, 2021.
Hanging Lanterns in the Autumn Valley with John Tarrant. The Valley Spirit is holding us—the mother deep. A big moment in our time, post-election. How to cope with Bad Emperors and accord with change. What is my place in the mandala? Finding joy in the thusness of things in all circumstances. Not seeing the light is also the light. “What is medicine? Bring me something that is not medicine.” Bring me something that is not the light! PZI Zen Online, as recorded Nov. 8, 2020.
Hanging Lanterns Series with John Tarrant. John reflects on life as a ceremony—dawn every day, the turning of the earth toward winter and back again. Everyone has their own light. Practice asks us to not refuse the eternal, nor the poignant daily awakenings and noticings. Music from Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Oct. 25, 2020.
PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from Sunday session. John Tarrant opens the dream with the koan, “What is your Light?” and recounts Huangbo’s insights on Buddha Nature as calm mysterious joy. Also touches on the frequent call-and-response in koan practice, and more. As recorded September 27 2020.
Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: John continues working with Yunmen’s koan, What is your light? Huangbo’s calm mysterious joy. Music on saxophone by Michael Wilding. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Sept. 27, 2020.
Hanging the Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: You have your own light. The life and hard times of an apple tree. Marking Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing. Music: Michael Wilding, Amaryllis Fletcher, Jordan Mc Connell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Sept. 20, 2020.
Hanging Lanterns at the Gate of the Autumn Temple: Orange skies, unhealthy air; apocalypse week in CA and the West. The old agreements are fragile, climate change a long gathering storm, fire a consequence. Having a practice—the simplest thing—a conversation with the vastness. Being lost is an opportunity as old attitudes fall away. Don’t take yourself too seriously! “Each step along the way is of equal substance,” says Hirada. Musicians: Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor & Jordan McConnell, guitar. PZI Zen Online, as recorded September 13, 2020.
PZI Zen Online: A meditation for our time with John Tarrant. Opening with the koan, “What is your Light?” Audio excerpt from Sunday session. As recorded Sept 13 2020.
PZI Dharma Theme: “Your Light.” In Zen, one lamp lights another but is never extinguished. We want these themed selections to work that way, as you explore the KALPA. A Dharma Theme? It’s a gathering, a curation of events from our vast KALPA library, based in a theme that is current in our online sessions and practice. We’re offering a compilation of various types of files: transcript, audio, art, music, and video—all from PZI teachers.
Audio excerpt from John’s Sunday Talk. A lamp as an image to sit with. “Yunmen has a light and so do you.” A koan for September and end of summer. The dharma is one lamp that lights another but is never extinguished. That lamp is yours. Meditation is any moment of sanity when I am not caught by demons of delusion. As recorded September 6, 2020.
Guided meditation with John Tarrant Roshi reciting Yunmen’s formative Zen koan, which asks the question: “What is your light?” Excerpted from a Sunday Meditation & Talk recorded on September 6, 2020.
As old agreements fall apart, practice is a kindness. What is the image of our time? A lamp that lights another, without losing any radiance. It carries the changes, in the warmth of fire. What is meditation? Any moment of sanity! Michael Wilding on flute, Amaryllis Fletcher on violin, and Jordan McConnell on guitar for the 4 Vows. As recorded on Sunday, September 6, 2020.