PZI Teacher Archives
Dharma Theme: Great Ancestor Linji
Meet Great Ancestor Linji: “A nine-colored Phoenix, a thousand-mile horse.” That’s how Linji was described in early Chan times.
Peach Blossom Journey
A guided meditation from John Tarrant: You’re walking along, and you’re kind of in the middle of your life—which you always are, no matter how old you are, you are in the middle of it—and you’re sort of just thinking and noticing, and then you have this idea: Why don’t I treat my whole life as a pilgrimage? That’s it. That’s what I’ll do.
The Great Collaborators of the Blue Cliff Record
Deep in Summer Sesshin, we are in the middle of the Blue Cliff Record. We, ourselves, are under the Blue Cliff, with Yunmen and Yunmen’s friends. We are all those people. The Blue Cliff is still being written, and we’re helping out with that project.
Surprising Happiness in the Midst of It All
Just having your life, whatever appears—meeting it. Nothing to DO. There is a joy in that, no matter what the universe delivers in the daily mix. Music from Amaryllis Fletcher and vows sung by Todd Geist. Recorded August 28, 2022.
Surprising Happiness in the Midst of It All
Just having your life, whatever appears—meeting it. Nothing to do. There is a joy in that, no matter what the universe delivers in the daily mix. Music from Amaryllis Fletcher & vows sung by Todd Geist. Recorded August 28, 2022.
Dharma Theme: Zen Luminaries, A Series of Conversations with Jon Joseph Roshi
Modern Zen Luminaries: A series of Zen Buddhist scholars, writers, poets, translators, and practitioners join PZI’s Jon Joseph Roshi for lively discussions online, with a focus on our Chan lineage. Includes all recordings beginning with the series’ launch in September 2021.
Zen & the Art of Meditation Series, Part 3: Befriending Your Own Heart Mind
Befriending your life, your koan, your own heart mind—not using your meditation for anything: no intention to improve yourself; not getting on board with the mind. Zen & The Art of Meditation, Part lll: October 17, 2021.
Unexpected Gifts: 10,000 Feet Down, The Stone
John Tarrant talks about living in an underworld time, in a descent as a culture and as a world, and as a planet. Accepting the descent, and accepting the quality of being lost when it appears, is profoundly important. And there’s a great, strange, and interesting mystery in that.
Awakenings of Linji & the Great Chan Teachers
John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and Linji. The love, and attention, and faithfulness at the heart of the stories and teachings of the Chan ancestors is their gift to us. And everything we bring to it is an addition into this great heritage, and is part of the layering. Transcript from a video talk in Fall Sesshin 2019.
The Great Collaborators at the Blue Cliff
John Tarrant introduces us to the great collaborative group of teachers, including Yunmen, who gathered at the Blue Cliff with Yuanwu to develop The Blue Cliff Record.
The Valley Spirit Never Dies: Peach Blossoms Appearing
Peach blossoms can turn up anywhere, and the Valley Spirit appears. Depending on what is larger than us—even the reaching for it has it! PZI Digital Temple. Audio as recorded April 21, 2021.
Obstacles & Gates: Refuge & the Bodhisattva Path
Deshan is determined to prove his scholarly certainty. He encounters two teachers who help him see the light. John talks about refuge; What is it? Why take refuge? What is the rakusu? PZI’s approach—working with refuge vows as koans. Zen ultimately rests in mystery and uncertainty. Linji says, “Have confidence in the light always working inside you.” Music with Jordan McConnell. Sunday talk as recorded Feb. 28th, 2021.
The Nature of Practice
Practice. The notion of practice, as something you embody, and you walk through, and you are—rather than something you add, like something added to gasoline. There’s also a sense of moving in the dark, in some way that’s positive. So that in a practice, “not knowing” is on your side.
Hosting the Life You Have
Rilke said, “Life is always right.” Whatever I think about that saying, this is the life I have, and I can’t have another life. And really, fundamentally I don’t want another one, because this one is so rich and compelling, no matter what’s going down right now.
Solitary Brightness – Nothing to Hang Onto
Our lives right now are an exercise in not knowing. Surprising intimacy comes in new forms of communication and meditation. But really, there is nothing to hold onto. And that vastness is filled with light. Sunday Zen session recorded July 16, 2020.
Green Glade: Emptiness in the Role of Host
Green Glade of Meditation: Our culture needs to renew its dreams. We are still held by vastness, and it is good when the bottom falls out: our job is to work in harmony with the universe. Take the role of host for everything that appears. Allow “not knowing.” If you know who you are, you can not take a step! Nothing before us, and only a wake behind. The empathic nature of emptiness, blessings of the goddess. PZI Zen Online, as recorded July 26th, 2020.
I Carry Silence & Light – Muses in the Midst of Turmoil
The light in us is wholly unharmed even in extremes of suffering, a place for the Muses to meet us. Allison talks about Anna Swir’s poem, There’s a Light in Me. When we hold light and silence everyone can feel it it changes the field. Sunday Zen session recorded June 16th, 2020.
Stories from the Interior – Solitude & Loneliness
Solitude as resting in vastness: taking the role of host everywhere and abiding nowhere. Loneliness—you may even be in the company of others, but something is missing. Allison revisits childhood’s solitude and the solitude of mountain trails. Abiding “somewhere” keeps us out of vastness.
No Rank! – Or the Wild Path of Awakening
So…tonight I want to talk a little bit about the course of the inner work — the dharma work — in terms of this book, the Book of Serenity. And you know, it pretty much is the second case is the one we’re going to mention, about Bodhidharma meets The Emperor Wu.
Every Day Is a Good Day
Yunmen said, “Before or after the full moon, every day is a good day!” The light of sesshin infuses us. In a “good day” the light is in you, just how it is—this is not an achievement, you are in the gift of the universe. The tenderness of the good day. Our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Dao, it’s bigger than you! Not getting in the way of life. Also: Dreams, Linji’s death, and more. Video recorded in Winter Sesshin 2020.
Linji’s Was I at Fault or Not?
Revisiting the big koans on his personal path: What is being a teacher? What is succession? Jon talks about Linji’s path to enlightenment – his teachers Huangbo and Dayu conspire to help him. Jon reflects on his recent visit to Japan and the Chan zendo in Kamakura, his warmth and gratitude for Yamada and his teachings. Our ancestors in the Chan lineage.
Linji’s Was I at Fault or Not??
Revisiting the big koans – What is this? Who is hearing? Who am I ? and others on his personal path: What is being a teacher? What is succession? Jon talks about Linji’s path to enlightenment – His teachers Huangbo and Daiyu conspire to help him. Our ancestors in the Chan lineage. Jon reflects on his recent visit to Japan and the Chan zendo in Kamakura, his warmth and gratitude for Yamada and his teachings.
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.
The Nature of Practice
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.
The Brightness of the Blockage
The experience of being blocked, a major or minor imprisonment, and of help arriving from unexpected sources.
That Solitary Brightness Is You
A discovery that all the Linji koans we are working with during the retreat are variants on Linji’s “There’s nothing I dislike.” They all appear from this core. The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours. If you “only don’t object” or exclude reality, the brightness is there. As recorded in Summer Sesshin 2016.
The Nature of Practice
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..
I like having a roomful of things and a roomful of people. So my plan for this talk is to say a little bit of some of the things I’ve
been thinking about as I sit with this koan, and talk a little bit about retreat, and then to have some time for conversation and questions and observations.
The Doughnut Maker
David Weinstein, Rachel Boughton
David Weinstein and Rachel Boughton give a talk at the 2016 Summer retreat.