What is it like to be a mother? There are many rituals of participation with the Great Mother, the ancient Goddess. In Daoism, she is the Valley Spirit who never dies. In Chan/Zen, the Mother, the Valley Deep, brings the whole realm of feeling. Recorded on Mother’s Day, May 8th, 2022.
Even a time of torpor, or a time when plans come apart, or we thought the culture was going in one way and it’s going in another—we rely on the spaciousness, we rely on not what we’ve planned and schemed, but we rely on what’s been opened up in our hearts. Transcript from the PZI Zen Online recording from Sunday, June 21, 2020.
Whatever your condition is, you can see the “I have joy.” Out of that emptiness, out of what seems unpromising—the dark material, the valley spirit, the enigma, out of the mystery, out of what I don’t understand—it just appears. The joy just appears.
John Tarrant talks about Chan’s encounter with Daoism and the Zhuangzi, replete with strange characters like “Crooked Carriage” and his friends. Chan took on their difficult times with stories and koans. Upheaval from Covid quarantine, riots over racism—koan meditation is a vessel for our times. Who’s concerned about the world? Who’s sad? We are in it together, so let’s vow to set endless heartache to rest. Koans and stories are ancient vials of light that help us now. PZI Zen Online, as recorded May 31, 2020.