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.
Writer & Roshi Susan Murphy, in conversation with Jon Joseph, reads from her books and talks about her childhood, family, lifelong relationship with the land, the disturbing evidence of climate change in Australia, and her ongoing, warm collaborations with indigenous aboriginal elders. Recorded April 25, 2022. Jordan McConnell sings the vows.
We abide in the inexplicable amnesty of hereness. Amnesty is also a metaphor for awakening. You allow your awakening to go all the way through. And you can be free, then caught, then free again. Recorded April 17, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding. Todd Geist sings vows.
Knock on any door—someone will answer. Letting koans teach you koans is the way. Anything that arises is part of the work. It’s not following instructions. John Tarrant’s Sunday Talk as recorded March 27, 2022.
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.
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.
Allison remarks on Bodhidharma’s Setting the Mind to Rest koan. Reality vs Data: Data can’t be wrong, can it? Recorded during Sunday session with John Tarrant & Friends on February 27, 2022. 4 Minutes.
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.
How do we set the mind at rest in times of war and turbulence? The practice was made in and for times like these. The art of practice is to be at peace in the middle of all the forces: climate change, disaster, war, disease, famine. Jordan MCConnell chants a dharani, a sacred spell to ward off danger and dispel demons. Can’t hurt! February 27, 2022.
Brilliant Zen student Dahui’s teacher, Yuanwu, sees his student can’t quite let go of his hold of the precipice and gives him this koan. There is something underneath everything: it is vastness. The old character was ‘sky.’ Haiku was hailed as a perfect snapshot with eternity in it. Haiku from John Tarrant, Masaoka Shiki, and others. Complete session recorded February 13, 2022.
Here is a curation of four dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening, from Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation 4-Part Special Sunday Series with PZI Teachers Allison, Tess, Michelle, & Jesse. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple on January 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2022.
Jon Joseph Roshi hosts a conversation with David Hinton, a poet and translator who specializes in Chan literature and poetry. His many books include The Selected Poems of Tu Fu (Du Fu), The Selected Poems of Li Po, and a translation of the I Ching. Hinton’s translations of the great Chan poets have earned acclaim for conveying “the actual texture and density of the originals.” As recorded January 23, 2022.
Four PZI Teachers explore Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation: Part 2 in the Series, recorded January 16, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding, Jordan McConnell, & PZI Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher.
Four PZI Teachers explore Hakuin’s Praise Song for Meditation: Part 1 of the Series, recorded January 16, 2022. Music from Michael Wilding, Jordan McConnell & PZI Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher.
The shaggy beast of the year 2021 – John chants the Kanzeon for all things leaving and crossing over, and Jordan sings the Kanzeon. What is next for our times? Not knowing is most intimate! As recorded December 19, 2021.
A Boxing Day story of awakening. Music from Michael Wilding & Jordan McConnell. As recorded December 26, 2021.
Thanksgiving weekend dharma talk on the many-layered and mysterious qualities of gratitude: aspirational, strategic, innocent, etc. The act of giving is pure —any gift is good. A koan story: A teacher gives a student a yearlong task on feeling gratitude. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell, Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher on violin introducing the Four Vows.
Who wants to be the worst horse? No one. But Buddha loves the worst horse. John Tarrant on worst horse experiences and the merits of not striving to go beyond where we are. If I am the worst horse then my Buddha nature is there. Music from Michael Wilding, Todd Geist sings vows.
Modern Zen Luminaries: A series of Zen Buddhist scholars, writers, poets, translators, and practitioners join PZI’s Jon Joseph Roshi for lively discussions online, with a focus on our Chan lineage. Includes all recordings beginning with the series’ launch in September 2021.
Befriending your life, your koan, your own heart mind—not using your meditation for anything: no intention to improve yourself; not getting on board with the mind. Zen & The Art of Meditation, Part lll: October 17, 2021.
Dharmakaya koans open the body of reality—this is one of those koans: Yunmen’s “What is your light?” The light is always happening, so it is a good thing to notice. In times like these, this koan is one to ally with. Is there an art of meditation? It begins and ends with you. Music from Michael Wilding, Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell.
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.
Michael Wilding’s transportive original composition, an interlude for meditation, on flute. As recorded September 19, 2021.
A beautiful version of the 4 Boundless Vows for 2 harmonizing voices. It blooms! Thanks to Rose Joseph & her friend Delfine. As recorded during Jon Joseph’s Monday evening talk on September 20th, 2021.
Everyone is assailed by demons right now. Demons have a long history in the culture. 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. Tess Beasley reads from James Hillman’s “Dreams & the Blood Soul.” Michelle Riddle & Jon Joseph chant a Zen spell for dispelling demons, the Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani. John reads Keats and Coleridge.
What is the gift of the universe? We receive unexpected help when we are “living down a level,” living things before we construct them. Not constantly consulting your “me,” you open to the invitations and gifts that appear; trusting in the Dao.