PZI Teacher Archives

Book of Serenity

Video August 1, 2023

Jiashan’s Beautiful State of Mind

John Tarrant

In the mountains, the world goes about its life without us needing to do anything. At the same time, it’s happening within us as well as outside us. It’s a marvelous thing to feel this freedom. Jiashan’s state of mind includes everything, and his enlightenment story is one of a journey between Yeshang, Dahui and a wild teacher called the Boat Monk.

36' 59"
Audio July 25, 2023

Jiashan’s Beautiful State of Mind

John Tarrant

In the mountains, the world goes about its life without us needing to do anything. At the same time, it’s happening within us as well as outside us. It’s a marvelous thing to feel this freedom. Jiashan’s state of mind includes everything, and his enlightenment story is one of a journey between Yeshang, Dahui and a wild teacher called the Boat Monk.

37' 0"
Video May 3, 2023

The Kingdom Is at Peace

John Tarrant

Nothing like a return from eight days in the hospital—an episode of great pain to make spring even more welcome. John tells his story of being hospitalized, and the legend of the painter of a yellow crane who disappears on the back of his creation. There is nothing to do or dread in pain. The heart opens: there are no barriers in evolving consciousness. Complete Sunday Zen session from April 12, 2023.

81' 0"
Audio May 2, 2023

The Kingdom Is at Peace

John Tarrant

Nothing like a return from eight days in the hospital—an episode of great pain to make spring even more welcome. John tells his story of being hospitalized, and the legend of the painter of a yellow crane who disappears on the back of his creation. There is nothing to do or dread in pain. The heart opens: there are no barriers in evolving consciousness. Complete Sunday Zen session from April 12, 2023.

81' 1"
Audio November 1, 2021

Fall Sesshin 2021: Dreams of the Ancestors with Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph gives the morning dharma talk about his dreams of the ancestors. A relationship continues beyond death. How is this so? It does not need to be explained, it only asks to be lived. As recorded in Fall Sesshin on Thursday morning, October 21, 2021.

38' 12"
Audio September 2, 2021

Unexpected Gifts, Unexpected Help Along the Way

John Tarrant

What is the gift of the universe? We receive unexpected help when we are “living down a level,” living things before we construct them. Not constantly consulting your “me,” you open to the invitations and gifts that appear; trusting in the Dao.

67' 28"
Audio April 29, 2021

One Who Is Not Sick

David Parks

David Parks Roshi of Blue Grass Zen in Kentucky continues with the koans of Dongshan. Dharma talk: The One Who Is Not Sick, PZI Zen Online. As recorded April 22, 2021.

25' 22"
Audio November 18, 2020

The Journey into Awakening: Peach Trees Without Words Make a Path

John Tarrant

John Tarrant on the journey into awakening in Zen and in our lives, and how it purifies. Deshan’s cart full of Diamond Sutra commentaries and our own strategies of resistance. Music from Jesse Cardin, Amaryllis Fletcher, Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded November 15, 2020.

64' 20"
Text September 11, 2020

The Journey, the Reaching, & Luopu’s Last Words

John Tarrant

There was a teacher called Luopu, a Chinese teacher, and he said this interesting thing. He said, “You have to directly realize the source outside of the teachings.” That’s the whole thing about it. That’s Bodhidharma’s thing, the direct realization outside of scriptures. The scriptures are nice and the teachings are nice, but really, the direct understanding—the direct meeting with life—the direct meeting with awakening is the thing.

4912 Words
Text August 6, 2020
3034 Words
Text July 31, 2020

Disorderly Karmic Consciousness

John Tarrant

We stop relying on the worry—on knowing who we are, on sorrow, on anxiety, on “if only I could get something.” Or get through this time. We stop relying on those things, and start relying on being here. A koan is something to put in your mind so that you have that there. So instead of Fox News or “Oh my god, I’m afraid,” or “I’m sick of being confined”—gradually freedom starts to appear by itself.

3318 Words
Audio June 15, 2020

The Everlasting Body Runs Deepest Indigo – Meditation for Troubled Times

John Tarrant

We are in the midst of great civil unrest around racism and the institutions that support it. Li Bai, Du Fu, Dalong & Primo Levi speak about what remains, what lives, what holds us in the universe—even as we feel most perishable, sad, defeated. The light is still there in all things, even without a foundation to stand on. As recorded June 14, 2020.

96' 32"
Text May 8, 2020

No Rank! – Or the Wild Path of Awakening

John Tarrant

So…tonight I want to talk a little bit about the course of the inner work — the dharma work — in terms of this book, the Book of Serenity. And you know, it pretty much is the second case is the one we’re going to mention, about Bodhidharma meets The Emperor Wu.

5769 Words
Audio April 28, 2020

Not Knowing Is Most Intimate – Delight in the Chaos of Life

John Tarrant

John Tarrant in Fall Sesshin 2019. Being lost or between places is a fundamental human predicament. Being lost delivers you to yourself with an unknown outcome. The teacher takes away the student’s need to know what’s unfolding on their pilgrimage. Zen likes predicaments as signs that things want to change.

53' 7"
Audio April 26, 2020

Disorderly Karmic Consciousness

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online Audio: Our disorderly karmic consciousness: John Tarrant Roshi on “the mind at midnight,” and our experience when we have no foundation to rely on. Koans stop our insistent minds—with an image or a predicament, they allow for a pause, a gate. As recorded April 26 2020.

88' 23"
Text April 21, 2020

Çaoshan’s Dharma Body

Sarah Bender

Sarah Bender Roshi reflects on a koan: Wisdom has no knowledge, but there is nothing it does not know. Therefore, purity pervades with abundance. This is a purity of inclusion and intimacy, not exclusion and definition. That’s abundance. You are this abundance. As written April 17 2020.

1016 Words
Audio January 29, 2020

Vimalakirti & His Daughter, Moonlike Beauty

Allison Atwill

Allison relays a story of an encounter between Manjushri and Vimalakirti. Manjushri, among the 32,000 bodhisattvas sent by Buddha to Vimalakirti’s sickbed, asks, “How do bodhisattvas enter the gate of nonduality?” The response is an intimate silence. Allison’s story includes the karmic path that his daughter, Moonlike Beauty, bore on her way to enlightenment.

47' 10"
Video January 12, 2020

On the Moment of Staying – Baizhang’s Fox Koan

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill focuses with us on the core of Baizhang’s fox koan – the moment when the old abbot stays after the talk at the monastery.

40' 32"
Video January 12, 2020

Not Knowing Is Most Intimate – Delight in the Chaos of Life

John Tarrant

John Tarrant in Fall Sesshin 2019. Zen likes predicaments, uncertainty allows us to enter life more fully. The koans are allies in this. The unexpected questions are often those that help the most. To all the strategies that defend against life, a Zen entreaty: “Become more lost.” John Tarrant in Fall Sesshin 2019.

52' 35"
Video January 11, 2020

Linji’s Enlightenment & the Awakenings of Great Chan Teachers

John Tarrant

John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and his teachings. In the layered quality of the teachings there is a common thread in our lineage: we are all in it together, all held by this great path, we put ourselves in the vessel and see what happens. Each of us holds a piece of the story—trust the piece you hold. As recorded Fall Sesshin 2019.

35' 46"
Video January 11, 2020

All Those Hands and Eyes

John Tarrant

John talks about the warm intimacy of the ‘the dark’ – the uncolonized zone where koans work with us. Intimacy in teachings is used often as an equivalent for enlightenment. Koans open gates and bring us inside that mystery. Some categories of koans: Predicament koans, Heart Changing koans, Inquiry koans and more.

33' 55"
Video January 11, 2020

The First Dog & NO

John Tarrant

The great koan NO and dogs in our lives. ‘Reality’ is an edit of everything that is always really going on.

41' 2"
Video January 11, 2020

The Journey, the Reaching & Luopu’s Last Words

John Tarrant

The great Chan teacher Luopu’s deathbed story, and his emphasis on the importance of a “direct meeting with the source” outside the teachings—you can’t just read about it. “Don’t grasp principles with words.” The story features the Book of Serenity’s compassion for the whole process toward enlightenment, for these wonderful teachers. Dharma talk in Fall Sesshin. Video as recorded 2019.

39' 36"
Video January 9, 2020

Bodhidharma’s Enlightenment

David Weinstein

“No merit whatsoever!” Bodhidharma responds to Emperor Wu in Case 2, in the Book of Serenity. David follows Bodhidharma’s path, and the process of practice.

55' 17"
Video November 21, 2019

Staying – Baizhang’s Fox Koan

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill talks about the key moment in Baizhang’s Fox koan where the odd old man in the audience who stays behind one day after the sangha leaves to talk about his 500 lives as a fox.

40' 32"
Audio November 16, 2019

No Rank! – or the Wild Path of Awakening

John Tarrant

John Tarrant takes us on an ancestral tour of the wild path of Chan awakening through the stories in the 100 koans of the Book of Serenity

48' 58"
Audio November 16, 2019

Bodhidharma’s Response to Emperor Wu

David Weinstein

David Weinstein examines Emperor Wu’s exchange with Bodhidharma. His question: “What is the first principle of teaching? Vast emptiness, nothing holy.” The Emperor wants to be acknowledged, but….

57' 42"
Audio November 14, 2019

Hands & Eyes – Book of Serenity

John Tarrant

Hands & Eyes – The Elegant Path of the Book of Serenity. John Tarrant, as recorded Fall Sesshin 2019.

35' 15"