PZI Teacher Archives
Takuan Soho, creator of the renowned golden yellow daikon pickle, was a poet, artist, calligrapher, master of the tea ceremony and Zen priest of Tokai temple—a master of the creative response. The arts of Zen are responses to our meeting whatever circumstances arise—death, war, love, loneliness, natural changes.
Koans and poetry tumble over each other. Old Zen masters used snatches of poetry as koans. Good poetry has an objective quality and is related to koanville in that way. It does not try to persuade or recruit.
Silence is for freedom and for being together. Haiku is in service of the silence—it expresses restraint and vastness at the same time. Haiku poets often had many nicknames under which they published their poems. Jesse Cardin Roshi gives the evening words, Jordan McConnell and Amaryllis Fletcher play the Boundless Vows. As recorded February 5, 2022.
Brilliant Zen student Dahui’s teacher, Yuanwu, sees his student can’t quite let go of his hold of the precipice and gives him this koan. There is something underneath everything: it is vastness. The old character was ‘sky.’ Haiku was hailed as a perfect snapshot with eternity in it. Haiku from John Tarrant, Masaoka Shiki, and others. Complete session recorded February 13, 2022.
John Tarrant reads poems and haiku from Issa, Walt Whitman, Christopher Smart, William Merwyn and others. From Sunday Talk: The Animal Heart Mind. 12 minutes.
With all the crises of our time lined up, like a caravan demanding our attention, what if the moments of beauty, friendship and peace are the real, important moments? Animal koans are really about you, and the question, What is it like to have a self? Poem and haiku readings from John, Issa, William Merwynn, Walt Whitman, Christopher Smart, & PZI friends Jeanne Foster and Adam Walsh. Music from Jordan McConnell.
The Lilies of New Life: It is spring and John reads poetry of the season. Original music performed by Jordan McConnell, as recorded Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. PZI Zen Online.
PZI Dharma Theme: Four PZI Guanyins reappear for Zen Tuesdays in October. They marvel at the immensity in all things from various perspectives. Drawing inspiration from Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “Tree,” The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” a golden crowned sparrow, a remarkable brother’s life, and more. Excerpts and complete audio sessions as recorded in October 2020.
PZI Zen Online: October Zen Tuesday with Michelle Riddle Sensei. Zhaozhou’s message to a novice, “Wash your bowls.” A zendo plaque in Japan, “Look under your feet.” Focus on what is hidden in plain sight, right under you, obvious and overlooked. Like the migratory Golden Crowned Sparrows returning in fall. Ikkyu’s “Attention! Attention! Attention!” Complete session. As recorded Oct 20 2020.
PZI Zen Online: Zhaozhou’s message to a novice, “Wash your bowls.” A zendo plaque, “Look under your feet.” A focus on what’s hidden in plain sight, right under you, obvious and overlooked. That the Golden Crowned Sparrows always return in fall. Ikkyu’s “Attention!”
Hanging Lanterns at the Gate of the Autumn Temple: Orange skies, unhealthy air; apocalypse week in CA and the West. The old agreements are fragile, climate change a long gathering storm, fire a consequence. Having a practice—the simplest thing—a conversation with the vastness. Being lost is an opportunity as old attitudes fall away. Don’t take yourself too seriously! “Each step along the way is of equal substance,” says Hirada. Musicians: Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor & Jordan McConnell, guitar. PZI Zen Online, as recorded September 13, 2020.
As old agreements fall apart, practice is a kindness. What is the image of our time? A lamp that lights another, without losing any radiance. It carries the changes, in the warmth of fire. What is meditation? Any moment of sanity! Michael Wilding on flute, Amaryllis Fletcher on violin, and Jordan McConnell on guitar for the 4 Vows. As recorded on Sunday, September 6, 2020.