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.
A quest, a treasure hunt, through cities overtaken by sands and ghosts and overwhelmed by the sea. We search for hidden teachings in scrolls, clay tablets, or dreams. Being lost is primary. In the koan lands we side with being lost when we turn toward uncertainty and wait, and whether we can bear it or not, a path opens. There is no end to this opening.
Even a time of torpor, or a time when plans come apart, or we thought the culture was going in one way and it’s going in another—we rely on the spaciousness, we rely on not what we’ve planned and schemed, but we rely on what’s been opened up in our hearts. Transcript from the PZI Zen Online recording from Sunday, June 21, 2020.
We’ve been in a long monastic retreat during this pandemic. Time has slowed. We are opening up gradually now to the world, as more people are vaccinated. We realize we are not going back to anything. The time is changing. We’re all stepping off into the mysterious. Musician: Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online: Sunday talk as recorded May 23, 2021.
It’s a very strong thing to be human, you can be subjected to all sorts of great forces. And sometimes you can win through, and sometimes you die. But we’re all of us doing that, all the time. So I was thinking about how good it is to love each other, to meet each other, and to make peace in our hearts. Sunday talk with John Tarrant, recorded June 14 2020.
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.
John Tarrant on the journey into awakening in Zen and in our lives, and how it purifies. Deshan’s cart full of Diamond Sutra commentaries and our own strategies of resistance. Music from Jesse Cardin, Amaryllis Fletcher, Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded November 15, 2020.
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.
PZI Zen Online: Solstice and the big wheels turn. Juneteenth celebrations & demonstrations are encouraging. Navigating and feeling the covid bardos of long confinement. Has nothing happened? Maybe all sorts of things are happening? “We can’t stay here long.” What is a border? Old injustices are looming. Readings from Slave Narratives, poetry of Li Bai, Alberto Rios, Czeslaw Milosz. As recorded June 21 2020.
PZI Zen Online: We are in the midst of great civil unrest around racism and the institutions that support it. Li Bai, Du Fu, Dalung & Primo Levi speak about what remains, what lives, what holds us in the universe—even as we feel most perishable, sad, defeated. The light is still there in all things even without a foundation to stand on. As recorded June 14 2020.