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Ikkyu’s Well & The Miscellaneous Koans
Images of water are deep in the meditation tradition. There is the notion that water nourishes us and holds us, and that the Dao flows like water and always finds the Way. Whatever blocks the river, the Dao dissolves it or will move around it. That’s the quality of meditation.
Hearing the Sounds of the World
We don’t need to turn away from the world and we don’t have to find a place to stand. Our listening and our presence operate below the level at which we usually manage things. So that is the hearing aspect of this koan. Just let hearing have you. This koan can be carried everywhere with you. Complete Sunday Zen session.
Where Do You Go, Oh Where Do You Go When You Die?
Article by John Tarrant for Lion’s Roar magazine. A traditional Chan way to approach the question of death is to stroll, stumble, hurry, struggle, fall accidentally through the gates of samadhi—the deep concentration of meditation—and look around. When you really enter this moment, it has no end, no beginning; it is older than the universe that seems to contain it. Then it will inevitably occur to you: “I’ve always been here.”
The Way of Flirting
John Tarrant introduces a modern bodhisattva of compassion found in Mike Leigh’s latest film, Happy-Go-Lucky. How does the bodhisattva of great compassion use all those hands and eyes? It’s like reaching behind you for a pillow in the night.
Surprises on the Way: Article by John Tarrant
Meditation offers a path out of the burning house, without abandoning the promise and good-heartedness of being human. Practice is the last best hope of living up to that good-heartedness, the only thing that never hurts and usually helps. And even at the beginning of the meditation path, on a good day it’s exciting. It actually makes you happy.
Dragons of the Blue Cliff Retreat – Part 1: Hands & Eyes
How does the bodhisattva of compassion use all those hands and eyes? In some way, through the vastness of hands and eyes, the koan speaks of the vast currents of the universe that carry and hold us. John Tarrant’s morning meditation & talk, Part 1 of this two-session Dragons of the Blue Cliff 1-Day Retreat. In the PZI Digital Temple, as recorded June 6, 2021.
Audio Excerpt: Water Moon Guanyin with Tess Beasley
Audio excerpt from Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon. Tess Beasley Sensei and the winged pavilion of summer. The various ways compassion can manifest. Water offers compassion at unfathomable depths and in reflections. As recorded Aug 16 2020.
Guanyin Touches the Earth – In the Pavilion Under the August Moon with Michelle Riddle Sensei
Audio – PZI Zen Online – Guanyin in the Pavilion with Michelle Riddle Sensei -Touching earth as Guanyin. Falling – Layman Pang and his daughter Ling Zhao fall together. The subtle and varied flavor of Guanyin’s manifestations – her/his shape/form/gender shifting qualities. As recorded August 9 2020. Michael Wilding on flute, Jordan Guitar. Amaryllis Fletcher, violin.
All Those Hands and Eyes
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.
Not Knowing Is Most Intimate
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.
The Bodhisattva of Great Mercy
Allison Atwill gives a Summer retreat talk on the koan, How Does the Bodhisattva of Great Mercy Use All Those Hands and Eyes, telling stories of shifting precarious family relationships from sibling rivalry toward greater intimacy.