Yunmen

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Article September 13, 2021

Placebo, Chronic Fatigue & Dormitive Principles

John Tarrant

I’m getting used to the thought that many things that seem as if they belong in the realm of the body are also influenced by the mind. Placebo studies indicate that even surgery can be a placebo. In medical school the faculty will sometimes say to students that they should use a drug a lot when it first comes out while people still believe in it. There is a Zen koan that goes “The whole world is medicine,” and the joke is that it could go, “The whole world is placebo.”

884 Words

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Dharma Theme July 19, 2021

Dharma Theme: Summer Sesshin 2021 in the Palace at the Blue Cliff

John Tarrant, PZI Cantor & Musicians, PZI Teachers

Here is a curation of sesshin dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening. A sesshin is always more than the sum of its parts or its recorded talks. There are morning rituals, greetings, incense passed magically through the screen, the changing light, rich silences, moments of humor, tech gremlins, tears, synchronicities, dogs barking, dreams, and awakenings that we share. It is the timeless play of the universe, with each other. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple, June 22-27, 2021.

5 Words
Audio July 19, 2021

The Great Collaborators at the Blue Cliff

John Tarrant

John Tarrant introduces us to the great collaborative group of teachers, including Yunmen, who gathered at the Blue Cliff with Yuanwu to develop The Blue Cliff Record.

43' 20"
Audio June 29, 2021
72' 18"
Text May 15, 2021

Every Day Is a Good Day

John Tarrant

What is the journey for? What is it to have this life? We’re in it—it’s so marvelous, so overwhelming and so incomprehensible. You’ll find, I think, that you can’t stand back from it and answer that question. So the “good day” is just how it is. It’s like the gift of the universe, and you’re in the universe, having received the gift. Transcript of John Tarrant’s dharma talk in Winter Sesshin 2020.

5619 Words
Audio February 10, 2021

Guided Meditation with Jon Joseph: Falling into a Well

Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph Roshi gives an overview, then the koan “What is the Way?” leading into meditation with Baling’s “A clearly enlightened person falls into a well.” Or does a well fall into that person? Audio excerpt as recorded Feb. 1 2021, PZI Zen Online. 28 minutes.

29' 4"
Audio December 8, 2020

The Importance of Leftovers with Jon Joseph Roshi

Jon Joseph

PZI Zen Online: At PZI we say that every bit of awakening is all of awakening. In fact, the barrier for awakening is so low that our sutra dedication says that “ants, sticks, and grizzly bears can easily jump over.” The bar is low, the gate wide open, the invitation given and never rescinded!

38' 1"
Audio November 3, 2020

Hanging Lanterns: A Ceremony of Light

John Tarrant

Hanging Lanterns Series with John Tarrant. John reflects on life as a ceremony—dawn every day, the turning of the earth toward winter and back again. Everyone has their own light. Practice asks us to not refuse the eternal, nor the poignant daily awakenings and noticings. Music from Amaryllis Fletcher & Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Oct. 25, 2020.

45' 7"
Audio October 12, 2020

Fall Sesshin 2020, Gathering In the Valley of Our Time: One Treasure Hidden in the Body

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online: Fall Sesshin – Gathering in the Valley of Our Time. Evening talk and entire session with John Tarrant. Music by Jordan McConnell. As recorded October 3, 2020.

58' 27"
Audio September 30, 2020

Audio Excerpt: What is Your Light? Part 4 – Opening the Dream

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from Sunday session. 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. As recorded September 27 2020.

12' 43"
Audio September 27, 2020

Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: What Is Your Light?

John Tarrant

Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: John continues working with Yunmen’s koan, What is your light? Huangbo’s calm mysterious joy. Music on saxophone by Michael Wilding. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Sept. 27, 2020.

90' 10"
Audio September 10, 2020

Audio Excerpt: One Lamp Lights Another – Yunmen

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online: Audio excerpt from John’s Sunday dharma talk. A lamp as an image to sit with. “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.

23' 7"
Audio September 9, 2020

Hanging Lanterns: Everyone Has Their Own Light

John Tarrant

Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: 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 – flute, Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher – violin prelude, and Jordan McConnell – guitar, 4 Vows. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Sept. 6, 2020.

85' 43"
Audio August 24, 2020

Guanyin’s Breath in the Pavilion Under the August Moon with Sarah Bender Roshi

Sarah Bender

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

88' 48"
Text August 14, 2020

Spirit of Love, Joy & Play in Koans

John Tarrant

Value a sort of play and see if you can break the koan—the koan will be amused. And see it and let it into your heart, and see what comes, or follow it around, or have it follow you. And finally you’ll realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m free.”

5546 Words
Misc August 10, 2020

Yunmen’s One Treasure – Images from Cosmic Lantern Workshop in Santa Fe with Corey Hithchock

Corey Hitchcock

Artwork: Body sized Cosmic Lanterns – a visual response to Yunmen’s One treasure. Santa Fe, NM Spring, 2018.

Audio June 11, 2020

What is Your Response? A Butterfly Flies up!

Michelle Riddle

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.

80' 18"
Audio June 4, 2020

Yunmen’s Inward & Outward Radiance

Allison Atwill

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.

89' 39"
Audio May 25, 2020

Living Words – Yunmen’s You’ve Misspoken

David Parks

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.

86' 1"
Audio May 12, 2020

Talking to a Rock

Tess Beasley

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.

78' 9"
Video February 19, 2020

Every Day Is a Good Day

John Tarrant

Yunmen said, “Before or 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. Our whole lives opening to now. You can’t bully the Dao, it’s bigger than you! Not getting in the way of life. Also: Dreams, Linji’s death, and more. Video recorded in Winter Sesshin 2020.

50' 7"
Audio February 12, 2020

Every Day Is a Good Day!

John Tarrant

The whole thing about Chan is that it’s an improvisational culture. Because we love it? No, because that’s what life is! That’s the good day. Not-knowing is intimately tied to the good day. It’s not an achievement—it’s the gift of the universe, and you are in the universe having received the gift. Poetry, dreams, Linji’s death, and more. As recorded in Winter Sesshin 2020.

50' 7"
Video January 11, 2020

Linji’s Enlightenment & the Awakenings of Great Chan Teachers

John Tarrant

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. As recorded Fall Sesshin 2019.

35' 46"
Text September 18, 2019

Lost And Found

John Tarrant

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.

1204 Words
Video June 18, 2019

What’s a Teaching That Lasts a Whole Lifetime?

John Tarrant

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.

33' 47"
Audio November 27, 2017

Every Day is a Good Day

John Tarrant

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.

54' 45"
Text November 15, 2017

Unicorns of Happiness

John Tarrant

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.

4061 Words
Audio November 13, 2017

Yunmen Retreat Introduction

John Tarrant

John Tarrant gives an introductory talk at the 2017 Fall Sesshin: September 19, 2017.

12' 22"
Video July 11, 2017

Say Something in Response

John Tarrant

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.

34' 16"