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Text November 15, 2017

A Koan Starter Kit

John Tarrant

“Working with a koan can make the world more transparent and alive and at the same time shift your consciousness in small and large ways. It’s a work of art as well as a spiritual method and intended to be useful in your life and contribute to your happiness.”

0 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Hindrances and Gates

John Tarrant

In meditation whatever arises in the mind or in your life is the gate. . . . The hindrances are the gates; when they appear, it might be an indication that meditation is going well.

805 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Meditation as a Basis for Healing

John Tarrant

“What are the essentials of the meditation path as a basis for this healing — healing of both person and culture?” August 2006.

2899 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Meeting the Inconceivable

John Tarrant

You might think of consciousness as a lamp, making a cone of light on the surface of a desk. Outside the yellow circle everything is dark and unknown. The usual way of approaching things is to try to extend the yellow circle into the darkness. Or perhaps to drag objects in from the dark. That is conceivable. This meditation takes things the other way. n.d.

422 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Reading Poetry for Zen

John Tarrant

“Some years ago I wrote a piece called ‘Soul in Zen’ in which I opposed the archetypes of spirit and soul. Spirit was seen as moving towards clarity, light and the eternal, while soul was the domain of the evanescent, the suffering, the beautiful.” n.d.

453 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Silver Cliffs and Iron Mountains

John Tarrant

Eventually you come to a place where you can’t go on and you can’t go back. You have arrived at the base of cliffs; you can’t scale them, you can’t get around them, and there’s no handy tunnel through them. The Japanese teacher Hakuin called this the Silver Cliffs and Iron Mountains. It’s a daunting place—that’s the point of it. And when you arrive here your life and your journey can become your own.

1248 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Standing at the Edge

John Tarrant

Right now, as we sit here, we are standing at the edge of a cliff. On every side there is a great drop. Right now, what do you experience standing on the edge of this great cliff? Whatever you experience standing here, that is your life. At the end of your days you’ll say, “This is what I did.” So what do you experience standing on the edge of the cliff?

665 Words
Text November 15, 2017

Starter Kit for the Koan NO

John Tarrant

A monk once asked Master Joshu, “Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?” Joshu said, “No!”

284 Words
Text November 15, 2017

The Moon Sets at Midnight

John Tarrant

We have such a passion to know and to be certain but, in practice, much of what we think of as knowledge is just untested thoughts. As the Heart Sutra says, even thoughts are empty, and if we are willing not to know, willing to walk through life without believing every thought that rises, then we’ll find a path out of suffering.

3724 Words