PZI Teacher Archives

Special Program: 4 Teachers & 4 Boundless Vows – Complete Session


On practice and path: become the Way, and illumination is always with you. A dive into the sources, history, and meaning of the 4 Great Bodhisattva Vows; how PZI teachers and students work with them towards the ceremony of Refuge and taking up the path. Each teacher takes up one of the Vows. Teachers chant and intone Vows in English and Sino-Japanese; Michael Wilding recites, Jordan McConnell singing and on guitar. Complete session recorded August 1, 2021.


This is a program on practice, and on taking up the path of Zen.

The beauty of practice. Practice is a place to come, daily, to be free. We are free when there is no difference between ourselves and the universe. Learning that nothing that enters the mind or heart is a wrong thing; this is a great discovery of practice. The world does fine on its own! The Daoists brought that to Zen.

Through the Vows, practice becomes a path. Refuge is a station on this path as well.

The Bodhisattva Path; the Great Way. When we accord with the universe, we notice and accept the call, the invitation—and the Way appears. Zen is in touch with the deeper mysterious current of things.

Zhaozhou’s response when asked, “What is Buddha?” He said, “Who are you?”

The Vows are like the golden bough that Aeneas used to light his way, in the underworld of Virgil’s tale.

There is a discipline in the Way, but mostly, you are getting out of your own way so you don’t miss the invitation of the mysterious blessings that come to you.

The basic koan THIS! is always appropriate on the journey—is there anything wrong in this moment? If you are in the Dao, this question seems silly; if you are caught, it seems crazy!

At a certain stage, when there is no way to go further, we make ourselves a raft  for others.

This is the path—we can’t explain it! We’re creatures that contain the universe and contain each other. We have a lot of unexpected help along the way.

—John Tarrant


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