Jesse Cardin talks about confusion and clarity: Where do you abide, or want to abide, and how do you move in the world? Clarity isn’t going to save you. A 10-minute excerpt from a longer dharma talk given April 24th, 2022, when Jesse guest-hosted John Tarrant’s regular Sunday meditation session.
John Tarrant reads his poem, composed spontaneously in response to a training exercise with a group of Integrative Medicine doctors. Each practitioner was asked to describe healing, and this “is what came out of me.” Excerpt from Zen & Poetry, a Sunday Talk on May 1st, 2022.
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.
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.
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.
John Tarrant reads the koan story Bodhidharma Sets the Mind to Rest to close his Sunday program. February 27, 2022. 2 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
John Tarrant reads poems and haiku from Issa, Walt Whitman, Christopher Smart, William Merwyn and others. From Sunday Talk: The Animal Heart Mind. 12 minutes.
With all the crises of our time lined up, like a caravan demanding our attention, what if the moments of beauty, friendship and peace are the real, important moments? Animal koans are really about you, and the question, What is it like to have a self? Poem and haiku readings from John, Issa, William Merwynn, Walt Whitman, Christopher Smart, & PZI friends Jeanne Foster and Adam Walsh. Music from Jordan McConnell.
We’re in a time that is difficult, but it is our time—and difficulty is not the only thing going on. Creativity is also present, but it is easy to be crazy right now. The old masters understood this situation. September 5, 2021.
“You must in the destructive element immerse…” You have to go through it otherwise you can’t have real resolution. Not fleeing the difficulty of things, and orienting yourself to the infinite. “A person on a raft flows on the stream by throwing themselves away.” The importance of the smallest things in the this-is-it dream.
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.
Part 1, “I vow to wake all the beings of the world.” Allison Atwill introduces the 1st of the 4 Vows, noticing the grandeur and awe of an impossible task. One’s own room expanding outwards, vow as a prayer in service of awakening. How to save all beings? By including them, now. That which has already been born, allow it to be here and find its place. Excerpt from the Sunday session on August 1, 2021.
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.
Allison Atwill & Tess Beasley are guest hosts in John Tarrant’s Free & Easy Wandering Series. They each tell a story of being at a threshold—knocking on doors not knowing who would answer, and how the gifts of the universe appeared. PZI Zen Online, as recorded May 30, 2021. Vows with Jordan McConnell. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding archived separately.
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.
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.
Summer Sesshin: Into the Blue Dragon’s Cave – Sunday morning talk. Small things, small moments of rest, peace, & awakening, like “thank you.” Appreciating discarded treasures. The very things that imprison us hold the freedom, if we can host them—being at home with them. The storehouse ONLY opens by itself—no prying or forcing. “Returning” in meditation. Leonard Cohen sings How the Light Gets In. As recorded on July 28, 2020.