PZI Zen Online – Hanging Lanterns Series. John reflects on life as a ceremony – dawn everyday, the turning of the earth toward winter and back again. Everyone has their own light. Practice asks us to not refuse the eternal or the poignant daily awakenings, noticings. Music for Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. As recorded Oct 25 2020.
PZI Zen Online: Audio Excerpt – John Tarrant opens the dream with the koan, “What is your Light?” and recounts Huangbo’s insights on Buddha Nature as calm mysterious joy, also touches on the frequent call-and-response in koan practice and more. Recorded September 27 2020
PZi Zen Online- Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple – John continues working with Yunmen’s koan: What is your light? Huangbo’s teaching on calm mysterious joy. As recorded Sept 27 2020. Music on Saxophone by Michael Wilding.
PZI Zen Online – Audio Excerpt – A lamp as an image to sit with from John’s Sunday Sept 6th Dharma talk: ‘Yunmen Has a Light and So Do You’. A koan for September and end of summer. The dharma is one lamp that lights another but is never extinguished. That lamp is yours. Meditation is any moment of sanity when I am not caught by demons of delusion. As recorded Sept 6 2020
PZI Zen Online – Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple – As old agreements fall apart, practice is a kindness to yourself. What is the image of our time: A lamp that lights another without losing any radiance. It carries a moment of change with the warmth of fire. What is meditation: Any moment of sanity. As recorded, Sept. 6 2020. Michael Wilding Flute, Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher, violin prelude and Jordan McConnell 4 vows.
Audio: PZI Zen Online – Guanyin in the Pavilion Under the August Moon with Sarah Bender Roshi manifesting Guanyin as air with ‘Breath Sweeps Mind’ and the call and response we employ meeting her compassionate nature. Appropriate response is Guanyin’s territory. Fayan’s …’the fresh breeze that arises when the great burden is set down.’ Sarah presents her field notes on Guanyin as wind, breath, release, and the Sutra of Endless Life. Michael Wilding on flute, Ryan McCoy on 4 vows, vocals and guitar. As recorded August 23 2020
So, value the sort of play, and as I said, see if you can break the koan—the koan will be amused. And see it, and let it—let it into your heart. And see what comes, or follow it around, or have it follow you. And finally you’ll find, you’ll realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m free.”
PZI Zen Online: The moment you are doing nothing the universe is doing you! What is your response? Responses, readings from Atlanta Mayor Bottoms, Yunmen, William Stafford, Joan Sutherland. Koans for troubled times. Each moment is new. Where is the source of your response? No guarantees, anything can happen. As recorded June 5, 2020.
PZI Zen Online -In times of chaos and disturbance, disintegration – your own experience, distress is the fundamental key to Zen. ‘What is most urgent for me?’ – Yunmen throws the questioner back into his own field: ‘The very you that’s afraid she does not have the answer. ‘ We are born into particular radiance of ‘not two’ and gradually take on separation. If we rest in who we are, we let the universe see us. As recorded June 2, 2020.
PZI Zen Online – Living words come from the our hearts and the vastness of connection. We try to cut things up to manage our lives. Beliefs inhibit our natural responses and gets in the way of what the universe offers. If we avail ourselves of the mystery – it’s alive! The words love & trust are alive and so are the teachings in the koans.
Audio: PZI Zen online Tess talks a bit on zoom fatigue and what that implies .Practice as a way of focusing attention – on noticing – noticia or ‘how things become unhidden’. The intimacy of noticing and being noticed. As recorded April 28th.
Yunmen said – “Even after the full moon, every day is a good day!” The light of sesshin infuses us. In a “good day” the light is in you, just how it is. This is not an achievement, you are in the gift of the universe. The tenderness of the good day and our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Tao! it’s bigger than you. Not getting in the way of life, dreams, Linji’s death and more.
Yunmen said – Even after the full moon, every day is a good day! The light of sesshin – how it infuses us. In a ‘good day’ the light is in you. Just how it is, not an achievement, you are in the gift of the universe. The tenderness of the good day and our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Tao! it’s bigger than you. Not getting in the way of life, dreams, Linji’s death and more.
John revisits the awakenings and koans of the great teachers, among them Yunmen and his teachings. In the layered quality of the teachings there is a common thread in our lineage: we are all in it together, all held by this great path, we put ourselves in the vessel and see what happens. Each of us holds a piece of the story. Trust the piece you hold.
The practice part of it is that it doesn’t matter if you think you lost the coin and start to be unhappy about life. That is another theory. And it doesn’t matter how many times that theory rises. Even that theory is the coin. A koan practice means that you go back to the river over and over again and you can trust that process.
The koan of the Autumn Moon retreat is from one of the great teachers Yun Men. The student asks the teacher, “What is a teaching that will last a whole lifetime?” and the teacher responds, “Say something in response.” October 14, 2012.
A student asked Yunmen: ‘I don’t ask you about before the full moon, what about after the full moon teacher?’ Yunmen replied ‘Every day is a good day’. A side story to this koan is that Yunmen was ill when the student came to visit and he was asking him about his health. There is a light which shines through everything: the day, the moment, an illness, even our problems.
Everyone knows happiness is A Good Thing, more desirable than say, vacuum cleaners or eye shadow. The founding fathers of the United States offered happiness as part of a mission statement for a people coming together in a nation, encouraging you to pursue, and perhaps to go so far as to chase, harry, hunt down, subdue and corral happiness. Even the Dalai Lama has said that happiness is the point of Buddhism.
On day two of Autumn Moon retreat, John continues with the great Koan from Yun Men. He focuses on the tail of the koan: “The teacher says to the student, ‘Say something in response.'” Yun Men or Cloud Gate is at the center of the tradition of Koan study, and this Koan is presented in the Blue Cliff Record. October 5, 2012.