PZI Teacher Archives

poet Basho

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"

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Dharma Theme May 10, 2023

Dharma Theme: Haiku for You

PZI Teachers

Koans and poetry tumble over each other. Old Zen masters used snatches of poetry as koans. Good poetry has an objective quality and is related to koanville in that way. It does not try to persuade or recruit.

566 Words
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 26, 2022
6480 Words
Audio May 7, 2022

Zen Is Poetry

John Tarrant

Koans and poetry tumble over each other. Good poetry has an objective quality and is related to koanville in that way. It does not try to persuade or recruit. Not knowing always supports us—you are always in the jeweled net. Music for meditation and the four vows with Jordan McConnell and Amaryllis Fletcher. Participants create poetry from a few momentary observations. Poems by John Tarrant and others.

71' 18"
Audio March 24, 2022

A Map for Getting Lost

John Tarrant

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.

61' 37"
Audio March 7, 2022

The Journey Itself Is Home

John Tarrant

We think about getting to that perfect destination, but it is the journey itself that is it. A lightness in our path comes of each step we take into eternity. Music from Michael Wilding, Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. February 20, 2022.

73' 0"
Audio May 7, 2021
6' 19"
Audio April 26, 2021

Spring Sesshin: The Interwoven Journey of Sesshin and Life

Tess Beasley

Tess Beasley invites our voices into the room, acknowledging the interwoven yet not-interwoven vessel of sesshin. We are each a unique presence, yet it is when personal identity and ambition recede that feeling and empathy emerge. PZI Digital Temple. As recorded April 11, 2021.

40' 19"
Audio April 22, 2021

The Valley Spirit Never Dies: Peach Blossoms Appearing

John Tarrant

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.

40' 20"
Audio January 26, 2021

The Firstness of Things & A Face in the Dark

John Tarrant

Handing Things On in the Dark. The dark silent time of this year has lasted for 9 months, in Covid. “The whole meaning of your life is in the current matter happening now.” No explaining it. “To be deeply in Zen is to be deeply in how to express it.” The first vaccines are here. The mysterious freedoms of this time, welcoming the new year, and a tour of the deep thick dark of midnight. John reads poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins, Anna Swir, Czeslaw Milosz, and more. Music from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Jan 3, 2021.

51' 30"

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Dharma Theme November 5, 2020

Dharma Theme: Zen Tuesdays – Immensity is Tapping

Allison Atwill, Michelle Riddle, Sarah Bender, Tess Beasley

PZI Dharma Theme: Four PZI Guanyins reappear for Zen Tuesdays in October. They marvel at the immensity in all things from various perspectives. Drawing inspiration from Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “Tree,” The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” a golden crowned sparrow, a remarkable brother’s life, and more. Excerpts and complete audio sessions as recorded in October 2020.

201 Words
Audio November 3, 2020

Wash Your Bowls with Michelle Riddle

Michelle Riddle

PZI Zen Online: October Zen Tuesday with Michelle Riddle Sensei. Zhaozhou’s message to a novice, “Wash your bowls.” A zendo plaque in Japan, “Look under your feet.” Focus on what is hidden in plain sight, right under you, obvious and overlooked. Like the migratory Golden Crowned Sparrows returning in fall. Ikkyu’s “Attention! Attention! Attention!” Complete session. As recorded Oct 20 2020.

49' 6"
Audio November 3, 2020

Audio Excerpt: The Smallest Things

Michelle Riddle

PZI Zen Online: Zhaozhou’s message to a novice, “Wash your bowls.” A zendo plaque, “Look under your feet.” A focus on what’s hidden in plain sight, right under you, obvious and overlooked. That the Golden Crowned Sparrows always return in fall. Ikkyu’s “Attention!”

22' 34"
Audio September 16, 2020

Hanging Lanterns: In Times of Great Change, What Is Your Light?

John Tarrant

Hanging Lanterns at the Gate of the Autumn Temple: Orange skies, unhealthy air; apocalypse week in CA and the West. The old agreements are fragile, climate change a long gathering storm, fire a consequence. Having a practice—the simplest thing—a conversation with the vastness. Being lost is an opportunity as old attitudes fall away. Don’t take yourself too seriously! “Each step along the way is of equal substance,” says Hirada. Musicians: Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor & Jordan McConnell, guitar. PZI Zen Online, as recorded September 13, 2020.

93' 27"
Audio September 9, 2020

Hanging Lanterns: Everyone Has Their Own Light

John Tarrant

As old agreements fall apart, practice is a kindness. What is the image of our time? A lamp that lights another, without losing any radiance. It carries the changes, in the warmth of fire. What is meditation? Any moment of sanity! Michael Wilding on flute, Amaryllis Fletcher on violin, and Jordan McConnell on guitar for the 4 Vows. As recorded on Sunday, September 6, 2020.

85' 43"
Text August 25, 2020

Hosting the Life You Have – Koans for Hard Times

John Tarrant

Rilke said, “Life is always right.” Whatever I think about that saying, this is the life I have and I can’t have another life. And really, fundamentally, I don’t want another one because this one is so rich and compelling no matter what’s going down right now.

5050 Words

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Visual Artwork December 17, 2017

Bird Disappearing Among Clouds

Allison Atwill

Allison Atwill, “Birds Disappearing Among Clouds,” 2008. Acrylic on birch panel with gold leaf, 36″ x 48″.

Text November 15, 2017

Reading Poetry for Zen

John Tarrant

Spiritual work and the arts can be very near each other. Both of them tell us what life is, how not to lie to ourselves, how to endure and how to love.

442 Words