PZI Teacher Archives

Mazu

teacher

Video November 18, 2023

Losing Things, Finding Things

John Tarrant

In meditation things come and go, as in life. In Zen the experience of loss contains a treasure. There is gold inside the loss whether of a person, a country, or a beloved house. Grief dissolves everything. The valleys of life are important for developing empathy. Mazu gives us the path to walk through the demons: Help others cross. Make yourself a raft. An Indigenous saying: Inside the last tear, happiness is hiding. 

52' 21"
Audio November 18, 2023

Losing Things, Finding Things

John Tarrant

In meditation things come and go, as in life. In Zen the experience of loss contains a treasure. There is gold inside the loss whether of a person, a country, or a beloved house. Grief dissolves everything. The valleys of life are important for developing empathy. Mazu gives us the path to walk through the demons: Help others cross. Make yourself a raft. An Indigenous saying: Inside the last tear, happiness is hiding. 

52' 22"
Video November 3, 2023

Fall Sesshin: Bright Virtue – Bankei’s Awakening

Tess Beasley

Bankei’s awakening came through facing his aversion to death. His question, “What is bright virtue?” brought him to Zen early in life. Later, he became one with the field and could fully see whatever he encountered. As your life becomes more whole, everything comes to belong.

45' 2"
Audio November 1, 2023

Fall Sesshin: Bright Virtue – Bankei’s Awakening

Tess Beasley

Bankei’s awakening came through facing his aversion to death. His question, “What is bright virtue?” brought him to Zen early in life. Later, he became one with the field and could fully see whatever he encountered. As your life becomes more whole, everything comes to belong.

45' 2"
Text October 30, 2023

You Can’t Cage a Koan – Make It a Raft!

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

In the Blue Dragon’s cave, everything is there. If you think you haven’t seen a dragon, you may be wrong. In fact, who says you’re not a dragon? And if you think you don’t know about koans, you may be wrong, too. Who says you’re not a koan? Transcript of a dharma talk in Summer Sesshin 2020.

9009 Words
Text October 30, 2023

Front Foot & Back Foot Walking

John Tarrant

One of the metaphors for awakening is spring. And don’t be afraid of how marvelous and powerful this thing is that’s carrying us, because it’s your nature and it’s a precious thing. And if we came here for anything, it’s that.

5459 Words
Audio October 25, 2023

Salt & Sauce, Trouble & Spice, Losing Things and Getting By

John Tarrant

Salt and sauce—the taste of life is complex. Even in times of deprivation, persecution and war, the flavor of life may include radical happiness. In Zen, we don’t have to know the solution, we just put the next foot forward. We ally with the capacity of life to dissolve outrage and the need to be either right or wrong. Difficulty and richness accord with each other. Walking the path is the gift of Zen, feeling the ancestors’ gifts of salt and sauce.

39' 58"
Audio October 12, 2023

Zen Arts: Pickles, Poems & Direct Encounter

John Tarrant

Takuan Soho, creator of the renowned golden yellow daikon pickle, was a poet, artist, calligrapher, master of the tea ceremony and Zen priest of Tokai temple—a master of the creative response. The arts of Zen are responses to our meeting whatever circumstances arise—death, war, love, loneliness, natural changes.

40' 0"
Text July 26, 2023

Carried in the Dark – On Lostness & the Spiral Path of Practice

John Tarrant

I’ve been thinking that everybody needs to start by being lost. And that the Dharma is a spiral path. It will happen again, and then again, and then again. So, when you are lost, instead of thinking, “This is an abnormal, wrong situation,” that’s what koans give us—they say, “Oh, well, I’m lost, fortunately. I don’t know what I’m doing.” 

4196 Words
Text July 14, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft Intro: A 6-Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

When we lead a group in the PZI tradition, we offer ourselves to something larger. Our small identity falls away to reveal a vessel that can ferry all beings deeper into the mystery of this life we share. This is no easy task. I’m pleased to offer an online 6-part training and support series for group facilitators. In the interest of maintaining focus, this series will be limited to those who are actively facilitating koan salons and cohort groups, or who plan to do so imminently.

384 Words
Text June 30, 2023

Make Yourself a Raft: Sitting in the Leader’s Seat Part 2 of 6 Part Series on Group Facilitation

Jesse Cardin

For our second session, I’d like us to shine our light on the experience of sitting in the Leader’s Seat. I spoke briefly last time about the facilitator’s role in maintaining the vessel. In this next session, I’d like to dive deeper into the experience of doing that.

653 Words
Text June 23, 2023

We Are Interwoven

John Tarrant

It’s a noble thing to gather together for the Dharma. It has hidden effects, that if we thought about it from afar, we’d think, Ah, I don’t know. But when we’re together, we can feel, Oh, yeah, it’s happening. I can feel it in my heart and my soul and my fingers.

3004 Words

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Dharma Theme June 9, 2023
29 Words
Video May 4, 2023

Your Thoughts & Feelings Are the Buddha

John Tarrant

There is an inner restlessness in the question, “What is Buddha?” If we look beyond what we think we know of as Buddha, the answer can be anything. A Zen master answered this question with, “dried shit stick!” Nothing is excluded; the jewel can be anywhere. Complete Sunday Zen session, with poems from Li Bai and John Tarrant. April 28, 2023.

63' 16"
Audio May 4, 2023

Your Thoughts & Feelings Are the Buddha

John Tarrant

There is a restlessness in the question, “What is Buddha?” If we look beyond what we think we know of as Buddha, the answer can be anything. A Zen master answered this question with, “dried shit stick!” Nothing is excluded; the jewel can be anywhere. Complete Sunday Zen session, with poems from Li Bai and John Tarrant. April 28, 2023.

63' 17"
Video April 1, 2023
22' 33"
Video April 1, 2023

We’ve Never Lacked for Salt & Sauce

John Tarrant

The salt and sauce is the invisible component of practice, of life. It is the place in which we are held when disaster strikes, or there’s chronic illness, or you find yourself at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. You might not need what you think you do to get by. What is salt and sauce for you? We can be at peace in the midst of the madness of events – this is our main work in zen. Music for meditation from Micheal Wilding on flute and then on drum. Complete Sunday Zen session from March 12, 2023. 

70' 55"
Audio March 29, 2023

We’ve Never Lacked for Salt & Sauce

John Tarrant

The salt and sauce is the invisible component of practice, of life, the place where we are held when disaster strikes or you find yourself at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. You might not need what you think you do to get by. We can be at peace in the midst of the madness of events—this is our main work in Zen. Complete Sunday Zen session from March 12, 2023. 

70' 55"
Audio February 27, 2023
44' 17"
Audio December 19, 2022

The Transformations in Things

John Tarrant

In the darkest days of the year, we tend toward year’s end assessments as a kind of emptying of heart and mind before the new year. John Tarrant tells a shaggy-dog transformation tale beginning with the koan, “Where do all the Buddhas come from? East Mountain walks on water.” There is a strange journey, a fox, carp, tiger, dragon’s cave, and a meeting with the Buddha. When we are free in the current matter, it is easier to love others, and our hearts flow out and touch each other.

36' 4"
Text November 9, 2022

A Great Current Carries Us

John Tarrant

The Daoist idea that came into Chan and Zen is that we harmonize with things. We don’t try and subdue them, although that’s a very strong human impulse. The great koan masters pointed out that the heart has a place of ease, and that there’s an inner freedom and a path we can walk no matter what we’ve suffered or are afraid of or are afraid might happen.

6570 Words
Video August 17, 2022

Harmonizing with the Dao – Nothing Has To Be Wrong

John Tarrant

A guided koan meditation from John Tarrant. Allowing the koans to have you when you work with them is the same as opening to your life. There are no steps to the Way. You are already free, and there will be unexpected help on difficult paths. August 7, 2022. 10 minutes.

10' 5"
Video July 12, 2022
4' 3"
Video July 11, 2022

Enter Here! Just Turn to the Koan

John Tarrant

Just enter here—there’s no guilty or innocent. Turn to the koan, there is your refuge and simplicity, the deepest teaching. Recorded at Summer Sesshin on June 14th, 2022. 4 minutes.

4' 33"
Video June 19, 2022

Magical Meetings: Encountering Your Own True Self

John Tarrant

John Tarrant on a meeting past midnight with an old familiar face that you may or may not recognize right off. When there is no moon and you can’t find your way in the usual way, you are bound to have some unusual encounters. Stories, readings, comments, and music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Complete Sunday Session recorded on June 12, 2022.

70' 34"
Video June 19, 2022

Magical Meetings: Past Midnight – Koun Yamada’s Awakening

John Tarrant

Awakening comes when you least expect it. Zen ancestor Koun Yamada returned from a retreat feeling deeply uncertain. Then dream life confirmed his awakening. Recorded June 12, 2022. 2-minute video.

1' 59"
Video June 18, 2022

Points of Practice: Getting Stuck, Getting Free

John Tarrant

In our Zen practice, there comes a time when you can feel stuck. John Tarrant talks about how to navigate this. Recorded June 12, 2022. 3-minute video.

3' 0"
Audio June 17, 2022

Magical Meetings

John Tarrant

John Tarrant on a meeting past midnight, with an old familiar face you may or may not recognize right off. When there is no moon and you can’t find your way in the usual way, you are bound to have some unusual encounters. Stories, readings, comments, and music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Complete Sunday Session audio. Recorded June 12, 2022.

70' 34"
Video June 15, 2022

Summer Sesshin: Opening Dharma Talk

John Tarrant

Great Summer Sesshin, opening eve: Our first in-person sesshin in over 2 years, due to Covid. John Tarrant introduces Shitou’s song, Taking Part in the Gathering, his translation together with Joan Sutherland. In this sutra, Shitou is trying to say what reality actually is. The myriad things are your own self—you look at the world and the world looks back. Whatever appears, enter there! No being for countless eons has ever fallen out of Buddha nature. Recorded June 13th, 2022, at Santa Sabina Center.

26' 48"
Audio June 9, 2022
3' 45"

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