We abide in the inexplicable amnesty of hereness. Amnesty is also a metaphor for awakening. You allow your awakening to go all the way through. And you can be free, then caught, then free again. Recorded April 17, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding. Todd Geist sings vows.
It helps to be on the side of lostness when the world goes to hell in a handbasket (Ukraine). All we have to do is be here and be lost—no usual schemes or regrets. Let the universe teach you. Accomplishing is not the deepest thing. Being lost is a promising beginning. Getting lost is good for finding personal practices.
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.
Dreams help us to find our way – Danxia on pilgrimage dreamed of a great light. And a diviner asked him a question that changed his life. His practice became a path.
The small self is always trying to hold off the world. But we are really a kind of flow. We feel the warm empathy at the bottom of all things. All things have Buddha nature. Not opposing reality is the beginning of all awakenings.
Second evening talk of Summer Sesshin 2021: John Tarrant introduces the great master of the Blue Cliff and the great questions and koans of his awakening.
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.
John Tarrant guides a 9-minute meditation with Master Ma’s koan, “The whole purpose of your life is contained in the current matter.” Audio excerpt as recorded at a Sunday Meditation & Talk on February 9, 2021.
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 Zen Online: Audio excerpt from Tess Beasley Sensei’s opening talk at Fall Sesshin. Harvest Moon, and leaning into the images that hold us for sesshin, the ancient vessel. Moon haikus. “What 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
Green Glade of Meditation: There is a framework in our practice for relying on emptiness and freedom, not holding pre-set 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. PZI Zen online, as recorded July 19, 2020.
PZI Zen Online: In to the Blue Dragon’s Cave, Summer 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. Vials of light, original light that we call koans which kindle light in us. Always there, even in a dark tangled place. Everything showing up is the koan! Memories in the cave—how they are whole and vivid. As recorded Summer 2020.
Summer Sesshin: Into the Blue Dragon’s Cave – evening talk & closing of sesshin, 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 a 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! Michael Wilding sax, Jordan McConnell guitar, Amy Fletcher cantor, Jan Brogan HOP.
Audio excerpt: John Tarrant guides a journey into the Blue Dragon’s Cave, a koan meditation as recorded on Sunday July 5th Meditation & Talk. 25 minutes.
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