John Tarrant on working with different koan types: Predicament: Stone crypt, Situational: Taking the form of Koan Yin, Mysterious: From a well that has not been dug. John’s early work with koans; ‘tactics and strategies’ that weren’t working until he found himself laughing at his own mind. That was the gate: Going straight on the road with 99 curves. There’s no difference between ‘Life’ and ‘MY life’. What we can do for each other is open our hearts and be there together.
What does abiding mean? When am I abiding? What can I NOT abide? Not rest in? Meditation is mostly about returning to abide. Whatever it means – not following the rules, not abiding them is that resting place.
So you are thinking about your loved ones, your ancestors and decide to take a trip out to the cemetery. You find your family vault and with a key open the stone door and step inside. You won’t stay long, you just want to pay your respects. But a gust of wind comes up and…
On the second day of Bare Bones retreat John brings to light the many ways in which we find ourselves in situations where we feel hopelessly trapped. Often we are not even aware that we are living in the stone crypt; the door closes and we can’t remember we were ever somewhere else. Working with a koan might just be the way to open the door. January 20, 2014.