“Two swords are crossed, there’s no way to retreat; you’re a lotus in the fire, you can’t help it – you’re determined to go higher.”
John talks about the concept of enlightenment and serenity, and managing to love and appreciate the inner life of the mind.
“Not deciding it is or isn’t, do you have the courage to be at peace with this? Everyone wants to leave the endless changes, but when we finish bending and fitting our lives we come back to sit by the fire.”
John continues to discuss the 5th koan in the enlightenment cycle, focusing on the concept of “not deciding it is or it isn’t,” and discusses the “method” of zen.
“Not deciding it is or it isn’t, do you have the courage to be at peace with this? Everyone wants to leave the endless changes, but when we finish bending and fitting our lives, we come back to sit by the charcoal fire.”
During the final night of the 2015 January sesshin, the teachers have a conversation about identity, art, intimacy, and the nature of koan study.
“For twenty years I’ve suffered bitterly – how many times have I gone into the cave of the Blue Dragon for you?”
Jon Joseph talks about the difficult struggle of life, and suggests that even in the midst of the hardest struggle there is a beauty, and a sort of redemption in the realization that the struggle is not separate – but a part of the whole package of existence.
Rachel Boughton, at the June-July sesshin held at Land of Medicine Buddha, talks hackers, privacy, and zen koans in an age of technology.
“We go to wild places in search of our self-nature, looking in the darkness of the tall grasses of abandoned places. Now, honored ones, where is your self-nature when you are searching for your self-nature?”
David Weinstein talks about culture and ideas, and recounts stories of enlightening adventures.
“Late one night, you decide to visit the family graveside, where (as a point of somewhat snobbish pride) your family’s personal tomb resides…” During the 2015 summer Sesshin at Land of Medicine Buddha in Southern California, John Tarrant talks friends, the feverish scheming and planning of the mind, and the predicaments faced in life.
Using the koans Not Knowing is Most Intimate and Taking the Form of Guan Yin Find Shelter for the Homeless Person, John Tarrant talks about the intimacy that comes when we turn toward vulnerability and no longer need to defend against life.