Dharma Theme: Fall Sesshin 2020 – Gathering in the Valley of Our Time. All audio sessions, opening and closing ceremonies, sutra services, and excerpts of talks. October 1-4 2020
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.
PZI Fall Sesshin Audio Excerpt: John Tarrant Roshi’s opening talk. As recorded October 1, 2020.
PZI Fall Sesshin Audio Excerpt: Tess Beasley Sensei’s opening talk. Harvest Moon and leaning into the images that hold us for sesshin, the ancient vessel. Moon haikus, “Where is Your Light?” As recorded October 1, 2020.
Just at this moment, the whole universe is holding us up. It’s nice for it to have a good job like that. That’s the thing that Master Ma said, the great master Mazu, “At a certain stage you have to make yourself a raft and a ferry for others if you want to go forward from the place you cannot go forward from.” This letting yourself feel—feel the moment and how it spreads out. There is no other moment. There is this, this, this, the Blue Dragon moment. It goes out through the galaxies.
Audio: PZI Zen Online – Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon with Sarah Bender Roshi manifesting Guanyin as air with ‘Breath Sweeps Mind’ and the call and response we employ meeting her compassionate nature. Appropriate response is Guanyin’s territory. Fayan’s …’the fresh breeze that arises when the great burden is set down.’ Sarah presents her field notes on Guanyin as wind, breath, release, and the Sutra of Endless Life. Michael Wilding on flute, Ryan McCoy on 4 vows, vocals and guitar. As recorded August 23 2020
Audio PZI Zen Online: Whatever mind you have right now in the middle of covid and civil unrest is it! Is Buddha. A great gift. We soak into koan practice and thoughts are part of the mix. They come and go and small mind perceives the vast mind. Who are we and what is this? As recorded July 13 2020.
Audio PZI Zen Online: Sarah Bender Roshi unfolds a beautiful guided koan meditation from GGcase 42. Who is this mysterious girl who keeps company with Shakyamuni? She who can not be wakened except by ‘Delusive Wisdom’ or Momiyo from the underworld? When did she arrive? In moments of separation what wakes us? What is this insistence that wakes us? Waking or not waking it is all ‘an elegant performance!’ As recorded July 8 2020
Audio: PZI Zen online – A framework in our practice for relying on emptiness & freedom. Not holding preset views. Blessing things beyond approval and disapproval. I am you = emptiness. In Zen we shift to ‘before’ the demons grabbed our ankles. You can’t rely on what you believe. We ‘accord’ with the Dao. We can’t fall out of the dream. As recorded July 19 2020
Audio session: Blue Dragon’s Cave Sesshin – Saturday eve – John’s dream of Orion. We accord with the Dao. What part of your life does not have value? Buddha nature is expressing itself through you. Voles 🙂 or vials of light: original light we call koans, which kindle lightin us. Always there even in a dark tangled place. Everything showing up is the koan! Memory in the cave – how they are whole and vivid.
Audio session: Blue Dragon’s Cave closing session – The grand beast of sesshin! Old dragon & tygher teachers meeting new teachers. A text on powers of dragons. Machado poem – ‘Only a wake behind us.’ Intimacy of Mazu’s dharma – ‘How are you?’ Sesshin is a work of art like rakusu. We are ‘always temporarily assembling ourselves’. All faults included in the cave. Mazu – as practice deepens make yourself a raft to transport others. Carrying the Dao is what you are! Music – Flute Michael Wilding, guitar singing Jordan MCConnell Cantor Amy Fletcher, Jan Brogan, HOP.
PZI Zen Online: The moment you are doing nothing the universe is doing you! What is your response? Responses, readings from Atlanta Mayor Bottoms, Yunmen, William Stafford, Joan Sutherland. Koans for troubled times. Each moment is new. Where is the source of your response? No guarantees, anything can happen. As recorded June 5, 2020.
The Heart Sutra, like any koan, contains the universe, and so you have to go in somewhere. I want to go in through the “Mantra of Great Magic.” Even the word “mantra” is, in a certain way, a reference to magic, a sort of portable access to reality that you can carry around with you. And the word “magic” is also used for the word “mantra,” so where we use “mantra” to produce magic, there’s a transformative quality about the mantra so that, when you repeat it, when you keep company with it, you end up in its world.
In the evening dharma talk John introduces us to an ancestor in the koan tradition, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Soko), 1089-1163 and his disciple Wuzhuo Miaozong (無著妙宗; 1096–1170 CE), Miaozong lived during the Song dynasty and was one of the first nuns to be included in an imperially sanctioned Zen lineage history. The conversation between Dahui and Miaozong is instructive of his early method of using only the head of the koan and become one with it. His method was formulated for his culture like we are for ours.
Audio: PZI Zen Online – ‘Layman Pang asks: ‘What about the person who does not keep company with the 10000 things?’ Sarah Bender, Roshi muses on Mayday as a distress call that in French simply means Help Me! and other implications of the day as labor strike. The multiple nature of our existence now in lockdown. Stillness vs online connections. As recorded May 1 2020