PZI Teacher Archives

not knowing

Text November 2, 2023

The Way Things Are Is Mysterious and Hard to See

Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

Allison, Tess and Jesse lead us into the heart of PZI practice—what it means to take refuge, how to work with vows as koans, and how, at its root, our life in itself before we’ve improved it is an expression of the Bodhisattva Way.

7365 Words
Video October 25, 2023

Salt & Sauce, Trouble & Spice, Losing Things & 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' 57"
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"

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Dharma Theme August 1, 2023

Dharma Theme: Dealing with Demons

PZI Teachers

If you’ve got demons, you’re alive! But you don’t have to get on board with them. Demons come out of your own heart, just like enlightenment.

153 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
Audio May 8, 2023

Things I Thought I Knew

Jesse Cardin

Jesse Cardin responds to the intimacy of intensely difficult moments, including frustration and delight with his son, while moving house from the mainland to Hawai’i. When everything is included, even the most difficult things, people, or events, then intimacy is possible and uncertainty is a friend. Complete Sunday Zen session recorded May 7, 2023.

63' 5"

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Dharma Theme May 4, 2023
65 Words
Video April 1, 2023

Gifts from the Far Ocean

Jesse Cardin

Our greatest tool from practice is a calm center in the middle of turbulence. My journey’s trajectory and outcome is not completely in my hands. It is hard to say whether circumstances are fortunate or not: are we drifting toward the rakshasas, or is it clear sailing? Lessons from a Polynesian legend: Trust your life, locate with love. As recorded March 18, 2023. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding.

71' 26"

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Dharma Theme March 29, 2023

Dharma Theme: Not Getting It – Doing It Wrong

PZI Teachers

The Zen approach is not about avoiding mistakes but bringing them to the path. Making a mistake opens the tenderness in us and can be more helpful than not making one. Then, the mistakes are not mistakes.

0 Words
Audio March 28, 2023

Gifts from the Far Ocean

Jesse Cardin

Our greatest tool from practice is a calm center in the middle of turbulence. My journey’s trajectory and outcome is not completely in my hands. It is hard to say whether circumstances are fortunate or not: are we drifting toward the rakshasas, or is it clear sailing? Lessons from a Polynesian legend: Trust your life, locate with love. As recorded March 18, 2023. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding.

71' 27"
Audio February 14, 2023

A Story of Finding and Reaching

John Tarrant

John Tarrant tells a story of finding and reaching. 24-minute excerpt from Sunday Zen on Boxing Day 2023.

24' 21"
Text November 30, 2022

Ikkyu’s Well & The Miscellaneous Koans

John Tarrant

Images of water are deep in the meditation tradition. There is the notion that water nourishes us and holds us, and that the Dao flows like water and always finds the Way. Whatever blocks the river, the Dao dissolves it or will move around it. That’s the quality of meditation.

5074 Words
Audio October 31, 2022

Fall Sesshin: Evening Words from The Little Prince

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill reads mysterious and hopeful final words from the book, The Little Prince. Did he make it safely? We don’t know. Recorded at close of the evening during Fall Sesshin, October 6, 2022. 4 minutes.

3' 53"
Audio November 1, 2021

Fall Sesshin 2021: Not Knowing & the Mysterious, Ungraspable World

Eduardo Fuentes

What is the world? Just this! Eduardo Fuentes talks about the beautiful, mysterious lives we lead, and how “don’t-know mind” is hidden inside and underneath names and symbols. As recorded at Fall Sesshin, Friday, October 22, 2021.

49' 40"
Text October 12, 2021

Unexpected Gifts: 10,000 Feet Down, The Stone

John Tarrant

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.

7566 Words

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Article September 13, 2021

Placebo, Chronic Fatigue, & Dormitive Principles

John Tarrant

I’m getting used to the thought that many things that seem as if they belong in the realm of the body are also influenced by the mind. Placebo studies indicate that even surgery can be a placebo. In medical school the faculty will sometimes say to students that they should use a drug a lot when it first comes out while people still believe in it. There is a Zen koan that goes “The whole world is medicine,” and the joke is that it could go, “The whole world is placebo.”

884 Words

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Article September 13, 2021

Meet the Blue Dragon

John Tarrant

In forty years, the earth itself, beyond our control, and human violence, also beyond our control, will have changed all our assumptions. Even so, what do I want the teachings to be?

1130 Words

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Article September 10, 2021

You Don’t Have to Know

John Tarrant

It’s easy to forget to be curious, and to grab an off-the-shelf knowledge, something like “This is awful.” Not reaching for off-the-shelf understandings, though, is an important skill.

1073 Words
Text May 15, 2021

Every Day Is a Good Day

John Tarrant

What is the journey for? What is it to have this life? We’re in it—it’s so marvelous, so overwhelming and so incomprehensible. You’ll find, I think, that you can’t stand back from it and answer that question. So the “good day” is just how it is. It’s like the gift of the universe, and you’re in the universe, having received the gift. Transcript of John Tarrant’s dharma talk in Winter Sesshin 2020.

5619 Words
Audio February 3, 2021

Through Winter Silence: Who Was at the Helm?

Sarah Bender

Winter Sesshin: Through Winter Silence into the New Light. Audio excerpt from Allison Atwill’s dharma talk recorded on January 16th, 2021. Sarah Bender comments on a nightmarish moment in the tale of the round-the-world voyage of navigator John Slocum.

2' 0"
Text October 22, 2020

The Nature of Practice

John Tarrant

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.

9236 Words
Text September 11, 2020

The Journey, the Reaching, & Luopu’s Last Words

John Tarrant

There was a teacher called Luopu, a Chinese teacher, and he said this interesting thing. He said, “You have to directly realize the source outside of the teachings.” That’s the whole thing about it. That’s Bodhidharma’s thing, the direct realization outside of scriptures. The scriptures are nice and the teachings are nice, but really, the direct understanding—the direct meeting with life—the direct meeting with awakening is the thing.

4912 Words
Text August 23, 2020

Predicament Koans – John Tarrant 2013

John Tarrant

So, rather than thinking a predicament is something we’ve got to get rid of, it’s just life—and it has its own dynamism. Maybe we have to walk through it, not run the other way. It’s all right to weep about it, or be frustrated and angry. You can’t be someone else, you are who you are. The gateway is yours, not someone else’s. From recording at Summer Sesshin, July 11 2013, Santa Sabina.

2261 Words
Text August 6, 2020
3034 Words
Audio June 11, 2020

When All Buddhas Are Destroyed, What Remains?

Jesse Cardin

PZI Zen Online: Zhaozhou said, “Clay Buddhas cannot pass through water; metal Buddhas cannot pass through a furnace; wooden Buddhas cannot pass through fire.” Which Buddha survives? The mid loves its ideas, structures, concepts and so does society. Some of those constructs are always dissolving. Discomfort of change in society norms and our own personal norms. As recorded June 10, 2020.

61' 55"
Audio April 28, 2020

Not Knowing Is Most Intimate – Delight in the Chaos of Life

John Tarrant

John Tarrant in Fall Sesshin 2019. Being lost or between places is a fundamental human predicament. Being lost delivers you to yourself with an unknown outcome. The teacher takes away the student’s need to know what’s unfolding on their pilgrimage. Zen likes predicaments as signs that things want to change.

53' 7"
Audio April 28, 2020

Talking About the Deepest Matters

John Tarrant

John Tarrant shares his interest in investigating reality through inquiry koans, koan types, the huatou of koans, stories, and more. As recorded in Winter Sesshin, January 14, 2020.

41' 46"
Audio April 15, 2020

10,000 Feet Down, the Stone

John Tarrant

John takes us further into our lockdown descent with a predicament koan that interrupts our usual ways of navigating, into the Sea of Ise, 10,000 feet down, to a single stone. Session includes John’s talk and koan, meditation segments, closing music, and participating teachers’ comments. As recorded April 5, 2020.

80' 53"
Video January 20, 2018

Settling into Retreat

Rachel Boughton

Rachel Boughton gives a talk at the Summer 2017 sesshin. Morning of July 18, 2017.

27' 6"
Video June 26, 2017

Not Knowing Is Most Intimate

John Tarrant

Using the koans Not Knowing is Most Intimate and Taking the Form of Guan Yin Find Shelter for the Homeless Person, John Tarrant talks about the intimacy that comes when we turn toward vulnerability and no longer need to defend against life.

25' 7"