koan practice

Audio September 27, 2022

Zen Luminaries – Through Forests of Every Color – Joan Sutherland & Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph

Zen Luminary Joan Sutherland Roshi talks with Jon Joseph about her new book Through Forest of Every Color – on her work with koans since leaving teaching. Joan talks about her breakout work with John Tarrant and others, following the teaching of the koans out of the box of dokusan into the new western practice in groups. Joan also mentions her innovative work with koans and improv and artists of various traditions. A rich and lively hour long conversation with questions and insights from Jon Jospeh, John Tarrant and Allison Atwill. Recorded Sept. 26, 2022

82' 25"
Video August 11, 2022

It’s Hard? Then Let the Koan Carry You

John Tarrant

Shitou says the dark and bright are both part of the deep work. When times are tough, trusting your koan and the deep current carrying us all, is the way forward. Mazu tells us we came here to make a way out of no way—koans help. Trust in this valuable process. From a talk given at Summer Sesshin in June 2022. 5 minutes.

4' 53"
Video July 29, 2022

Koans on the Journey of Refuge

Tess Beasley

From a talk given by Tess Beasley in Summer Sesshin on June 15, 2022. 3 minutes.

2' 39"
Video July 28, 2022

Impossible Vows

Tess Beasley

From a talk in Summer Sesshin on refuge and vows, given by Tess Beasley. Recorded June 15, 2022.

11' 30"
Video July 12, 2022

A Koan Can Hold Your Attention for You

Tess Beasley

In the vessel of sesshin, attention can move freely and find myriad places of rest. A koan can hold you when you don’t know where to go. From a talk in Summer Sesshin, June 15, 2022. 1 minute.

2' 5"
Audio March 31, 2022

Secret Affinities: Knock on Any Door

John Tarrant

Knock on any door—someone will answer. Letting koans teach you koans is the way. Anything that arises is part of the work. It’s not following instructions. John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk as recorded March 27, 2022.

68' 13"

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Article September 17, 2021

Escape Arts & Sam the Cyborg

John Tarrant

Escape arts disassemble the walls or, as in dreams, allow us to step right through them. We can also think of escape arts as practices that appear in moments of natural clarity. They are often similar to the moves you make if you are interested in Zen and koans, but the world teaches escape arts to us; they just appear in a situation without any conscious feeling that you are entering spiritual territory.

773 Words
Audio September 10, 2021
77' 59"
Audio August 5, 2021

Special Program: 4 Teachers & 4 Boundless Vows: Opening Words – with John Tarrant

John Tarrant

John Tarrant’s welcome and introduction to a special program on The Four Boundless Vows and the Bodhisattva path. We are each in the true temple; it’s always happening here, and everyone holds it. Meditation and opening words: the beauty of practice and of the path, the way we teach through stories in Zen, and inclusion of the Daoist view that “the world does fine on its own.” Excerpt from the Sunday session recorded August 1, 2021.

27' 7"
Audio August 5, 2021

Special Program: 4 Teachers & 4 Boundless Vows: 3rd Vow – with Jon Joseph

Part 3: I vow to walk through every wisdom gate. Jon Joseph talks about the 3rd of the 4 Vows, and asks, What is a wisdom gate? How do we walk through? The impossibility of the vow, the impossibility of our lives—this is exactly where we should be. The endless nature of unfolding and of always-appearing wisdom gates. What is my part in the world? By becoming a koan, or a vow, we set up a resonance with it, and begin to soak in it—not separate! Excerpt from the Sunday session on August 1, 2021.

76' 29"
Audio July 19, 2021
60' 15"
Audio June 9, 2021

Put Out the Fire – A Panel on Koan Practice & Pain

Jon Joseph

Roshi Jon Joseph assembled a panel of 4 PZI meditators, who deal with various experiences of chronic and severe pain. Koan meditation has helped all of them to find a way to allow the pain in—not to exclude it, and to see it as a profound teacher and ally. As recorded May 31, 2021.

52' 15"
Video April 13, 2021

Walking the Mysterious Path Together

John Tarrant

John Tarrant Roshi on PZI: Zen koans are a key part of what we do in PZI, although there is no requirement that anyone work with koans to practice with us. Koans hold an ancient wisdom that anyone can use, and for a long time PZI has been exploring different ways of working with them. This exploration, and its embodiment in practice, is our gift.

6 Words
Text March 2, 2021

Koans in Your Life

John Tarrant

To turn toward the difficult thing is usually a move of compassion. We think it’ll be a fierce warrior move, but it’s not, actually. And when we turn toward what’s difficult, it becomes mysterious and unknown and strange and interesting. Whatever it is, your dilemma—if you turn toward that, it’s to let the koan be there. So we stop trying to flee. And suddenly we’re at peace, and instead of it being the thing that we don’t want to do, it’s the gateway into freedom.

4445 Words
Audio December 14, 2020

Tea with Tathagata

Jon Joseph

PZI Zen Online: Jon Joseph Roshi invites us to have tea with Tathagata. As recorded Dec 7 2020.

32' 39"
Audio October 19, 2020

Zen Tuesdays: When Will You Meet Today with Tess Beasley Sensei

Tess Beasley

Tess Beasley leads off the Zen Tuesdays Series with thoughts about encountering immensity, examining creative process, and koan practice as inclusionary. As recorded October 6, 2020.

78' 17"
Audio October 12, 2020

Fall Sesshin 2020: The Koan Raft – Morning Talk with Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph

PZI Fall Sesshin: The Koan Raft – with Jon Joseph Roshi. What is a koan? A koan is a “public case” in Chinese. Koan practice develops a resonance with all things. Any section or word in a koan is a gate. As recorded October 2, 2020.

26' 0"
Audio July 10, 2020

Don’t Try to Cage the Blue Dragon

John Tarrant

Summer Sesshin: Into the Blue Dragons Cave – 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. From the Friday evening talk by John Tarrant. As recorded June 26th, 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
0' 0"
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 minutes. January 2019

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..

9232 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"

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