koan practice

Audio July 10, 2020

Don’t Try to Cage the Blue Dragon

John Tarrant

Audio excerpt: Koans are much more than ‘tools’ – they do you! Your very heart mind is it, so have the intimacy of your life even into death. Friday eve. Summer Sesshin 2020.

3' 0"
Audio June 2, 2020

Welcome! Before the Names of Sages & Emperors

Jon Joseph

Audio: PZI Zen Online – Jon begins with Dongshan’s 3rd Rank and ends with Zhouzhou’s ‘Welcome!’ Beauty in the odd experience of lockdown, economic hardship and all of it. Koans reinforce our innate knowledge before our parent were born. Celebrations of the awakened mind. As recorded – music Jordan McConnell. june 1 2020.

84' 45"
Video February 8, 2020
42' 38"
Audio January 29, 2020
42' 32"
Video December 26, 2019

Walking the Mysterious Path Together – Koans, Transformation & PZI

John Tarrant

John Tarrant, Roshi, Director of PZI and author, talks about the mystery of meditation as he first experienced it in the ancient forests of Queensland; about transformation on the ancient koan path we follow, and the evolution of Pacific Zen Institute as a community, and koan school with a new online resource center, the KALPA (Koans and Liberation Project Archive) Library. Your support helps produce PZI’s ongoing retreats and dharma talks, John’s writing projects, and spreads the teachings.

8' 16"
Audio December 4, 2019

The Art & Craft of Koan Practice

John Tarrant

Often we chase out and look for things, but when things come toward us – that’s enlightenment. In retreat, time expands and the universe appears. The art and craft of koan practice – freeing the heart and mind.

59' 32"
Audio December 4, 2019

The Nature of Practice

John Tarrant

In practice you are traveling, you are on a path. It is different from a plan because you are on uncertain turf. Practice also has more love in it because you are moving in the dark in a positive way. The koan is like the dog that follows you around with a bowl – it foils your serious plans.

72' 21"
Video September 18, 2019

Gratitude for the Path

David Weinstein

A most heartfelt conversation about David’s spiritual journey. Beginning with his teacher Lama Yeshe to the practice of Zen with John Tarrant and the Pacific Zen Institute community. July 15, 2014.

56' 14"
Text September 18, 2019

Working With Koans

John Tarrant

A koan is a piece of old wisdom in a very concise form. I think of it as a vial of ancient light that has been passed down to us. It’s the same light that was in the heart of the teacher who invented the koan. So, if you can get the vial open, what will pour out is your inheritance. It won’t be the usual kind of inheritance with bank accounts, real estate, debts and family feuds. This inheritance will be a perspective—the way an old master saw and experienced the world.

2853 Words
Text September 18, 2019

Lost And Found

John Tarrant

The practice part of it is that it doesn’t matter if you think you lost the coin and start to be unhappy about life. That is another theory. And it doesn’t matter how many times that theory rises. Even that theory is the coin. A koan practice means that you go back to the river over and over again and you can trust that process.

1204 Words
Text September 17, 2019

Straight Down the Road of 99 Curves

John Tarrant

Everybody probably has a road that would come to mind. I remember getting a bus in Tasmania and driving through the west coast mountains to a mining town where I was going to work, get a job, and how the snow was coming down and the bus would just go around this really narrow road like that, and there are certain parts of the world that have truly alarming narrow mountain roads with truly alarming drivers and very ancient buses.

6466 Words
Text September 17, 2019

The Nature of Practice

John Tarrant

..a practice is different from a plan. You know what a plan is; you’ve probably made a few of them. A practice has more love in it, because a practice is something you’re doing without being sure of the outcome..

9231 Words
Video June 7, 2019

It’s Alive, It’s Alive

John Tarrant

John Tarrant presents a dharma talk at the Winter 2011 Bare Bones Sesshin on the experimental nature of PZI koan practice, and being “alive.” January, 2011.

54' 17"
Video June 7, 2019

The Continuous Flowing Nature of the Mind

John Tarrant

The Zen Koan for summer sesshin was “Who Is Hearing?” The talk by John Tarrant and ensuing conversation regards the nature of the mind, and aspects of practice. June 22, 2011.

35' 15"
Video June 2, 2019

Abiding with Koans, the Mind Comes Forth

Rachel Boughton

Rachel Boughton, Director of the PZI Santa Rosa Center, how-to talk on working with zen koans.

A Zen ancestor was gathering wood and heard a line being recited that struck him. “What was that again?” he asked. “Oh, it was just something I heard up north in a temple.” So he went to study up north.

34' 55"
Text November 24, 2017

How to Practice Zen Koans

John Tarrant

“A koan is a little healing story, a conversation, an image, a fragment of a song. It’s something to keep you company, whatever you are doing. There’s a tradition of koan study to transform your heart and the way you move in the world.” March 2016.

15 Words
Text November 15, 2017

A Koan Starter Kit

John Tarrant

“Working with a koan can make the world more transparent and alive and at the same time shift your consciousness in small and large ways. It’s a work of art as well as a spiritual method and intended to be useful in your life and contribute to your happiness.”

0 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Hindrances and Gates

John Tarrant

In meditation whatever arises in the mind or in your life is the gate. . . . The hindrances are the gates; when they appear, it might be an indication that meditation is going well.

805 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Starter Kit for the Koan “No”

John Tarrant

A monk once asked Master Joshu, “Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?” Joshu said, “No!”

284 Words
Text November 15, 2017

The Power of Koan Practice

John Tarrant

Those who have used koans have described them as a poetic technology for bringing about awakening, a painful but effective gate into the consciousness of the Buddha, an easy method of integrating awakening into everyday life, the most frustrating thing they have ever done, an appalling waste of time, a tyranny perpetrated by Zen masters… Well, you get the idea — about koans, opinions differ.

3992 Words
Video July 20, 2017

Allison Atwill’s Art Talk, Part 1

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill discusses her art and its relationship to koan practice. Part 1. 2010.

6' 56"
Video July 20, 2017

Allison Atwill’s Art Talk, Part 2

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill discusses her art and its relationship to koan practice. Part 2. 2010.

8' 16"
Video July 20, 2017

Allison Atwill’s Art Talk, Part 6

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill discusses her art and its relationship to koan practice. Part 6. 2010.

4' 35"
Video July 20, 2017

Allison Atwill’s Art Talk, Part 5

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill discusses her art and its relationship to koan practice. Part 5. 2010.

8' 54"
Video July 20, 2017

Allison Atwill’s Art Talk, Part 4

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill discusses her art and its relationship to koan practice. Part 4.

4' 25"
Video July 6, 2017

The Question of the Tail

David Weinstein

David Weinstein Roshi continues the conversation during retreat regarding the ancient Koan about the buffalo passing through a lattice window. How can the buffalo get through the lattice window – all but the tail? What is it that is difficult for me to let in? Can we be compassionate with ourselves when we find the place on our life where there is a no trespassing sign?

23' 52"
Video July 6, 2017

The True Person of No Rank

John Tarrant

John opens the evening with the koan “The True Person of No Rank.” It goes something like this: “There is a true person of no rank who is always coming and going from the portals of your face.” Who is that person of no rank? Linji was a great teacher and the ancestor of most of the koan lines of Zen and this is a koan of his. It has been used since ancient times as a meditation both for beginners and advanced students. Probably the best way to work with it is to play with it. Don’t rank how you are doing. Just let it keep you company, like an animal would. You forget about it, but every time you look, there it is! And after a while it doesn’t go away. October 17, 2013.

31' 11"
Video July 6, 2017

The Stone Grave

John Tarrant

On the second day of Bare Bones retreat John brings to light the many ways in which we find ourselves in situations where we feel hopelessly trapped. Often we are not even aware that we are living in the stone crypt; the door closes and we can’t remember we were ever somewhere else. Working with a koan might just be the way to open the door. January 20, 2014.

31' 8"
Video July 6, 2017

Go Straight Down a Road with 99 Curves

John Tarrant

This sesshin, John introduced a series of miscellaneous koans, the first being “How do you go straight down a road with 99 curves?” February 12, 2014.

33' 50"
Video July 6, 2017

Stop the War

John Tarrant

“John had us work with a series of miscellaneous Koans during retreat. Stop the war was one of my favorite talks. Looking at how I/we are at war within ourselves and how that internal war becomes a battle with those around us. A cold war or a war of words, fists or weapons. By practicing meditation we can mediate a truce with our fears.” – A participant. January 22, 2014.

43' 52"

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