PZI Teacher Archives

Sunday Talks

Video November 18, 2023

Losing Things, Finding Things

John Tarrant

In meditation things come and go, as in life. In Zen the experience of loss contains a treasure. There is gold inside the loss whether of a person, a country, or a beloved house. Grief dissolves everything. The valleys of life are important for developing empathy. Mazu gives us the path to walk through the demons: Help others cross. Make yourself a raft. An Indigenous saying: Inside the last tear, happiness is hiding. 

52' 21"
Video November 14, 2023
60' 4"
Audio November 14, 2023
60' 5"
Video October 25, 2023

The Smell of Fresh Toast & the Enchantment of the World

John Tarrant

“What is this?” asked the eccentric Zen teacher Budai, holding up odd objects to a crowd. The universe is an intimate net, its jeweled facets contain everything, including the smell of fresh toast. All living beings must turn toward the ultimate. This is deeper than any sorrow, horror, disgrace. The strangeness and beauty of now, of life, is beyond explanation. And this moment has always been here.

52' 52"
Audio October 25, 2023

The Smell of Fresh Toast & the Enchantment of the World

John Tarrant

“What is this?” asked the eccentric Zen teacher Budai, holding up odd objects to a crowd. The universe is an intimate net, its jeweled facets contain everything, including the smell of fresh toast. All living beings must turn toward the ultimate. This is deeper than any sorrow, horror, disgrace. The strangeness and beauty of now, of life, is beyond explanation. And this moment has always been here.

52' 52"
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"
Video October 17, 2023

Not Making Sense Is Better Than Ice Cream

John Tarrant

Explaining things can put you in a bind. The humor of emptiness—a little eternity creeping in—is a panacea, and mind just undoes its problems. If we try to make sense of things, therein lies suffering. “You can’t really explain what inspires.”

39' 15"
Audio October 13, 2023

Not Making Sense Is Better Than Ice Cream

John Tarrant

Explaining things can put you in a bind. The humor of emptiness—a little eternity creeping in—is a panacea, and mind just undoes its problems. If we try to make sense of things, therein lies suffering. “You can’t really explain what inspires.”

39' 15"
Audio October 12, 2023

Music for Meditation: 5 Solos from Jordan McConnell

Jordan McConnell

We are fortunate to have incredible original music from talented musicians in our Sunday temple meditations and PZI retreats. Here are five guitar solos composed and performed by Jordan McConnell in 2023.

26' 4"
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"
Video September 27, 2023

The Gift

John Tarrant

What are the special properties of gifts? You can not force giving. The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao. Happiness is involuntary, like the grass returning.

39' 6"
Video September 27, 2023

Belinda & the Monster aka Beauty & the Beast

John Tarrant

John Tarrant retells the mythic story of Belinda and the Monster, Italo Calvino’s version of Beauty and the Beast. The archetypal forces personified in the story are present in all of us. Can we allow ourselves to feel all that we are? What is the monster? Where do you find yourself in the story?

57' 19"
Video September 27, 2023

Unmoving Mind Means Freely Moving

Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley

Takuan Soho—whose death poem was one character: dream—taught the dangers of a distracted mind. Son of a samurai, he understood how to lose your life. Circumstances need not be extreme—we can lose our lives any moment when we rely on devices or install veils between us and the unfixed motion of reality.

50' 24"
Audio September 27, 2023

The Gift

John Tarrant

What are the special properties of gifts? You can not force giving. And the Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao. Happiness is involuntary like the grass returning. Sorrow is involuntary like autumn leaves.

39' 6"
Audio September 27, 2023

Unmoving Mind Means Freely Moving

Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley

Takuan Soho—whose death poem was one character: dream—taught the dangers of a distracted mind. Son of a samurai, he understood how to lose your life. Circumstances need not be extreme. We can lose our lives any moment when we rely on devices or install veils between us and the unfixed motion of reality.

50' 24"
Audio September 21, 2023

Belinda & the Monster aka Beauty & the Beast

John Tarrant

John Tarrant retells the mythic story of Belinda and the Monster, Italo Calvino’s version of Beauty and the Beast. The archetypal forces personified in the story are present in all of us. Can we allow ourselves to feel all that we are? What is the monster? Where do you find yourself in the story?

57' 20"
Audio September 20, 2023

Lazy Summer Afternoons Under the Rose Apple Tree, Part 4 of 4

Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

Even a delicious rest must end. The Dao suffers no plans but its own, and our bodhisattva path requires that we bring it back into the world. In Zen, the path goes on and on—we find more ways to grow the ways we love our lives. We are not trying to reach a place of endless tranquillity.

51' 10"
Video August 24, 2023

Lazy Sunday Afternoons Under the Rose Apple Tree, Part 3 of 4

Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

The care and feeding of a self is a 24/7 job. The burden of certainty constrains things and makes them heavy—even something as well-intentioned as undying love.

48' 23"
Audio August 24, 2023

Lazy Summer Afternoons Under the Rose Apple Tree, Part 3 of 4

Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

The care and feeding of a self is a 24/7 job. The burden of certainty constrains things and makes them heavy—even something as well-intentioned as undying love.

48' 23"
Text August 24, 2023

The Nobility of Having a Practice

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

It’s not so hard to realize that practice is immediately beneficial. But there’s a deeper thing: meditation is a way to befriend your life and befriend reality. Some days just seem harder than others, right? And you come home and think, Oh, god. Practice is a good thing then. Practice, practice, practice.

5097 Words
Audio August 23, 2023

Lazy Summer Afternoons Under the Rose-Apple Tree, Part 1 of 4

Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

We carry so much in any given moment—what if we let it go? Would we still exist without our burdens and agendas? Part of us wants to hang on for dear life. Drinking the waters of forgetfulness might be deathly!

52' 13"
Audio August 16, 2023

Lazy Summer Afternoons Under the Rose-Apple Tree, Part 2 of 4

Jesse Cardin, Tess Beasley

We can resist rest when in the thrall of the busy mind. We may even try bringing an agenda to our meditation. Fortunately, the practice will undermine any agenda you may have. But something in us wants to let our tiredness catch up with us—it might be the universe intervening.

56' 13"
Video August 15, 2023

The Nobility of Having a Practice

John Tarrant

Meditation gets us away from reaching and grasping and winning and losing and honor and disgrace. This lack of ulterior motive makes meditation a friendly time. All our daily reaching and grasping and getting somehow sticks to us and when we meditate it unsticks and falls off. With music for meditation from Jordan McConnell & Michael Wilding.

49' 8"
Video August 14, 2023

Refuge – No Escape Hatch

Allison Atwill, John Tarrant

It is part of being human to have complex, multiple views. We are always communing with what is here. There is no escape hatch out of this life into another one. Where would we go? When we let go of imposing conditions on our life, then there is a profound freedom—refuge allows that. And we find there is a beautiful helplessness to our condition.

59' 59"
Video August 1, 2023

Jiashan’s Beautiful State of Mind

John Tarrant

In the mountains, the world goes about its life without us needing to do anything. At the same time, it’s happening within us as well as outside us. It’s a marvelous thing to feel this freedom. Jiashan’s state of mind includes everything, and his enlightenment story is one of a journey between Yeshang, Dahui and a wild teacher called the Boat Monk.

36' 59"
Audio July 31, 2023

Refuge – No Escape Hatch

Allison Atwill, John Tarrant

It is part of being human to have complex, multiple views. We are always communing with what is here. There is no escape hatch out of this life into another one. Where would we go? The Dao takes its own time with our intractable problems and suffering. We already know we want to live the truest, most authentic life we can, before we think refuge.

60' 0"
Video July 29, 2023

Enjoy Yourself! Awakening Together

John Tarrant

Love is a recognition of wonder; friendship, too, is a recognition of wonder. At the still center of our connections is a glimmer of the realization that we are all one seamless body. Recorded June 25, 2023.

57' 13"
Video July 29, 2023

Swimming Through the Titanic

John Tarrant, Tess Beasley

Our fascination with the Titanic endures. Even the name of the ship was the beginning of its loss; the titans stand in the psyche for whatever is gigantic and careless and ignores the laws of fate. The ship had to sink because it was unsinkable.

59' 14"
Audio July 25, 2023

Jiashan’s Beautiful State of Mind

John Tarrant

In the mountains, the world goes about its life without us needing to do anything. At the same time, it’s happening within us as well as outside us. It’s a marvelous thing to feel this freedom. Jiashan’s state of mind includes everything, and his enlightenment story is one of a journey between Yeshang, Dahui and a wild teacher called the Boat Monk.

37' 0"

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