PZI Teacher Archives

Bodhisattva Path

Text November 2, 2023

The Way Things Are Is Mysterious and Hard to See

Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

Allison, Tess and Jesse lead us into the heart of PZI practice—what it means to take refuge, how to work with vows as koans, and how, at its root, our life in itself before we’ve improved it is an expression of the Bodhisattva Way.

7365 Words
Text October 30, 2023

Front Foot & Back Foot Walking

John Tarrant

One of the metaphors for awakening is spring. And don’t be afraid of how marvelous and powerful this thing is that’s carrying us, because it’s your nature and it’s a precious thing. And if we came here for anything, it’s that.

5459 Words

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Dharma Theme October 25, 2023
31 Words
Audio October 24, 2023

Fall Retreat: Feeling the Bath

Jesse Cardin

All the ways we try to get out of awakening! It becomes a real burden, to not let some piece of life touch me or penetrate. These things become very clear in retreat; it becomes hard to ignore what’s there. And all the efforts to snare it, charm it, or steal it from someone else, including a past or future versions of oneself … despite these efforts, we can’t hold off awakening.

24' 48"
Audio October 24, 2023

Fall Retreat: Into the Bath

David Weinstein

David talks about entering baths in Japan. How do you enter a bath? What is your way? We are not just entering the bath—the bath enters us. Water added to water. It’s not about getting clean; it’s about getting free.

29' 18"
Video October 24, 2023

Fall Retreat: Enter Here – Into the Bath Together

John Tarrant, PZI Cantor & Musicians, PZI HOPs, PZI Teachers

How does it feel to be here? The bath is that which contains us. We go in together—enter here. There is something marvelous about letting it all go and letting the imperfections of life appear. Feeling that subtle touch. The universe is at play: let’s see it playing, and let’s let it see us play.

39' 32"
Audio October 24, 2023

Fall Retreat: Enter Here – Into the Bath Together

John Tarrant, PZI Cantor & Musicians, PZI HOPs, PZI Teachers

How does it feel to be here? The bath is that which contains us. We go in together—enter here. There is something marvelous about letting it all go and letting the imperfections of life appear. Feeling that subtle touch. The universe is at play: let’s see it playing, and let’s let it see us play.

39' 34"
Text July 14, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft Intro: A 6-Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

When we lead a group in the PZI tradition, we offer ourselves to something larger. Our small identity falls away to reveal a vessel that can ferry all beings deeper into the mystery of this life we share. This is no easy task. I’m pleased to offer an online 6-part training and support series for group facilitators. In the interest of maintaining focus, this series will be limited to those who are actively facilitating koan salons and cohort groups, or who plan to do so imminently.

384 Words
Text June 30, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft: Sitting in the Leader’s Seat Part 2 of 6 Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

For our second session, I’d like us to shine our light on the experience of sitting in the Leader’s Seat. I spoke briefly last time about the facilitator’s role in maintaining the vessel. In this next session, I’d like to dive deeper into the experience of doing that.

653 Words
Audio June 21, 2023

Throughout the Six Realms, All Beings Are Free

Jesse Cardin

In one story about Guanyin, our patron saint of compassion, her head literally explodes when she tries to contemplate the suffering of all the beings left in hell. Fortunately, future-buddha Amitabha comes along and gives her more heads. But then when she tries to help, her arms explode too! So he gives her a thousand arms. Sunday Zen from June 19, 2023.

63' 14"
Audio August 29, 2022

Summer Sesshin: Closing Ceremony

John Tarrant, Michelle Riddle

John Tarrant and HOP Michelle Riddle close the sesshin, together with the sangha, letting it go into the gone beyond. Timekeeper Todd Geist gives closing thanks. Musician Amanda Boughton sings a celtic ballad and plays mandolin, Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher chants and plays violin for the closing sutras and four boundless vows. Final day of Summer Sesshin, at Santa Sabina, June 19th, 2022.

44' 7"
Video July 22, 2022

Summer Sesshin: Journey of Refuge

Tess Beasley

Tess Beasley describes touchstones of the journey for participants taking refuge vows at Summer Sesshin. Refuge entails committing to the vows as koans, a ceremony with teachers and community, and receiving the rakusu. Complete talk in Summer Sesshin on June 18, 2022.

52' 35"

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Article September 10, 2021

You Don’t Have to Know

John Tarrant

It’s easy to forget to be curious, and to grab an off-the-shelf knowledge, something like “This is awful.” Not reaching for off-the-shelf understandings, though, is an important skill.

1073 Words
Audio August 5, 2021

Special Program: 4 Teachers & 4 Boundless Vows: Opening Words – with John Tarrant

John Tarrant

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.

27' 7"
Audio August 5, 2021

Special Program: 4 Teachers & 4 Boundless Vows: 1st Vow – with Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill

Part 1, “I vow to wake all the beings of the world.” Allison Atwill introduces the 1st of the 4 Vows, noticing the grandeur and awe of an impossible task. One’s own room expanding outwards, vow as a prayer in service of awakening. How to save all beings? By including them, now. That which has already been born, allow it to be here and find its place. Excerpt from the Sunday session on August 1, 2021.

10' 1"
Audio August 5, 2021

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

Allison Atwill, John Tarrant, Jon Joseph, Jordan McConnell, Michael Wilding, Michelle Riddle, Tess Beasley

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.

76' 29"

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Article April 28, 2021

It Would Be a Pity to Waste a Good Crisis

John Tarrant

It’s important not to discount the idea that in a crisis, you might be having the time of your life. Article by John Tarrant, published in Lion’s Roar magazine on March 23, 2018.

2823 Words
Audio April 27, 2021

The Way Things Are Is Mysterious & Hard to See – Refuge Vows As Koans

Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley & Jesse Cardin lead us into the heart of PZI practice—what it means to take refuge, and how to work with the vows as koans. Purification Sutra and vows sung and played by musician Jordan McConnell. PZI Digital Temple. As recorded April 25, 2021.

70' 47"
Audio March 8, 2021

Obstacles & Gates: Refuge & the Bodhisattva Path

John Tarrant

Deshan is determined to prove his scholarly certainty. He encounters two teachers who help him see the light. John talks about refuge; What is it? Why take refuge? What is the rakusu? PZI’s approach—working with refuge vows as koans. Zen ultimately rests in mystery and uncertainty. Linji says, “Have confidence in the light always working inside you.” Music with Jordan McConnell. Sunday talk as recorded Feb. 28th, 2021.

73' 21"
Text February 11, 2021

A True Person of No Rank, No Color, No Gender: Seeing Through All Distinctions

John Tarrant

I was thinking about history and beauty and what an old old thing human suffering is, and how intrinsic it is. And we keep making things better and then they keep getting worse, and we’re making them better and they get worse. I guess I just wanted to say that it’s really good to have a practice at any time. Meditate—it will help. You will come from a position of peace rather than just fighting yourself. Being yourself, the true person, no rank. Transcript of PZI Zen Online Sunday Dharma Talk with John Tarrant Roshi, recorded June 7, 2020.

6372 Words
Text October 22, 2020

The Nature of Practice

John Tarrant

Practice. The notion of practice, as something you embody, and you walk through, and you are—rather than something you add, like something added to gasoline. There’s also a sense of moving in the dark, in some way that’s positive. So that in a practice, “not knowing” is on your side.

9236 Words
Text September 28, 2020

Following the Scent of Flowers

John Tarrant

There’s a spaciousness inside all situations. We’re walking through them, and underneath our feet there’s space and light, and around us. And we’re walking through that space and light. That, then, is the source of empathy and love. And we accompany each other—and we don’t have to take ourselves or each other so seriously.

6789 Words