“I like to find instances of Zen in pop culture where people have never heard of Zen. Along these lines, it’s always nice to have what you think is going on, turn out to be not what is going on. This is particularly so when what you think is going on is embarrassing or sad. This is the basic Buddhist enlightenment story: that what is going on is more interesting than you think.”
Love is an enlightenment story available to everyone, and that story includes being attacked by demons as well as being showered with roses. If we widen our gaze, in love, we discover what we like about ourselves and how we want to live our lives.
Transmission happens when we let our hearts open. It comes from a free heart. Babies are transmission devices! Taking up the koan you are given—a little temple to live in. Koans do what they do without consulting anyone. The work reveals a wonderful quality, of the world coming to meet us. The great lesson: It’s not outside of you, and you can’t legislate your own enlightenment! 4 Vows: Jordan McConnell. As recorded March 21, 2021.
Audio: John shares his interest in investigating reality through inquiry koans, koan types, the Watou of zen stories, and more. As recorded at Winter Sesshin January 14 2020.
Jesse reimagines Deshan’s classic enlightenment story. He looks at some of the essential features of the journey of awakening, how we make koans our own, and the role that imagination plays in Zen. PZI Zen Online. Audio as recorded April 22, 2020.
On the second day of retreat, John Tarrant talks about the second koan of the triptych, “How does an enlightened person fall into a well?” How do we as practitioners handle major issues in our lives which cause us to fall into darkness or depression? When things are bleak or difficult, the opportunity is to turn toward our practice and the teachings or our community. January 21, 2013.
“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.
“It’s passed midnight, the moon has not risen, in the thick, deep dark, you meet a face from long ago: but you don’t recognize them. No need to be surprised by this.”
John Discusses koan tradition, the “five steps” of enlightenment, and communication between student and teacher.