PZI Teacher Archives

Zhaozhou

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Dharma Theme August 1, 2023

Dharma Theme: Dealing with Demons

PZI Teachers

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.

153 Words

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Dharma Theme July 25, 2023

Dharma Theme: Creatures of the Summer Dawn – Summer Sesshin 2023

John Tarrant, PZI Teachers

Here you will find links to audio and video dharma talks from PZI’s Great Summer Sesshin: Creatures of the Summer Dawn with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers. Includes music from Amaryllis Fletcher, Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell. Held in person at Santa Sabina Center from June 12–18, 2023.

78 Words
Audio July 13, 2023

Summer Sesshin: The Great Koan NO

John Tarrant

On some level, we are not human beings! Zhaozhou’s dog koan often leads off sesshins. When you throw yourself in with the dog, you make your whole body a mass of doubt. Your eyebrows are entangled with the Zen ancestors.

40' 29"
Text March 29, 2023

A Dog’s Life

John Tarrant

John tells a story about dogs and Buddha nature upon the death of a beloved dog: Animals have their own large awareness in which we can share. Meditation is one way to do this. It resets the mind to zero and we stop waving our arms about so much, and we enter a communion with the universe. 

1531 Words

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Dharma Theme March 29, 2023

Dharma Theme: Tea Ladies, Hermits, & Other Strange Teachers Along the Way

PZI Teachers

To meet a Tea Lady was always a somewhat risky proposition. Usually, in koan-ville, an unsuspecting traveler hurrying on their way somewhere else—consumed with their own knowledge and problems— would encounter a tiny wayside establishment with a deeply mysterious proprietor on hand.

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Text March 26, 2023

Falling with the Koan NO

John Tarrant

John Tarrant gives a talk on Zhaozhou’s NO: This koan is often offered as a first “gate,” but I think you need to already be in trouble and falling before it’s useful. Life is always offering us that cliff—that door of falling. When you’re falling, you can’t screw it up because actually there’s not a lot you can do. But what you do will be very free and won’t be constrained by the usual. From a recording made in Fall Sesshin 2022.

5207 Words
Text November 23, 2022
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Text November 14, 2022

Peach Blossom Journey

John Tarrant

A guided meditation from John Tarrant: You’re walking along, and you’re kind of in the middle of your life—which you always are, no matter how old you are, you are in the middle of it—and you’re sort of just thinking and noticing, and then you have this idea: Why don’t I treat my whole life as a pilgrimage? That’s it. That’s what I’ll do.

2728 Words
Audio October 24, 2022

Fall Sesshin 2022: Falling with the Koan NO

John Tarrant

When you are falling, there is not a lot you can do about it, but you are no longer constrained by your usual preoccupations. Awakening, too, is in the category of things you can’t do anything about. Sesshin’s Gate 3 is NO—or Mu—the famous dharmakaya koan that opens the body of reality. NO casts away all the consciousness you have had until now. Music with Jordan McConnell, closing words with Allison Atwill from the story of The Little Prince. Complete session recorded October 6, 2022.

54' 13"
Audio October 24, 2022

Fall Sesshin 2022: Falling with NO

John Tarrant

When you are falling, there is not a lot you can do about it, but you are no longer constrained by your usual preoccupations. Awakening too, is in the category of things you can’t do anything about. The apparatus of certainty is circumvented and the universe is manifesting and unfolding through us. Excerpt from a sesshin dharma talk recorded October 6, 2022.

19' 40"
Audio August 23, 2022

Not Picking & Choosing

John Tarrant

We can fairly easily see that not picking and choosing will help free us from some entanglements. At first you might think it’s about not caring, but actually it’s the opposite. It’s to do with befriending reality, listening to reality with a tender care. Complete dharma talk audio from Sunday, June 26, 2022. 43 minutes.

71' 1"
Video August 11, 2022

Not Picking & Choosing

John Tarrant

We can fairly easily see that not picking and choosing will help free us from some entanglements. At first you might think it’s about not caring, but actually it’s the opposite. It’s to do with befriending reality, listening to reality with a tender care. Complete dharma talk from Sunday, June 26, 2022. 43 minutes.

42' 59"
Video July 23, 2022

Mysterious Avoidance of the Way

John Tarrant

It is mysterious how we can avoid the Way, even when we most want to enter it. It’s good to know we have a vessel that carries us. We can listen to everything that arises. From Not Picking & Choosing Part 1, a PZI Sunday Talk from June 26, 2022. 7 minutes.

7' 0"
Audio July 18, 2022

A Passionate Entry into Life

John Tarrant

John Tarrant’s complete Sunday Talk: The Great Way Is Not Difficult; It Just Avoids Picking & Choosing. Recorded June 26, 2022, in the PZI Online Temple.

71' 1"
Video May 16, 2022

VIDEO: Do You Abide in Clarity? with Jesse Cardin

Jesse Cardin

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.

6' 24"
Audio April 26, 2022

Beyond Clarity & Confusion

Jesse Cardin

Jesse Cardin gets a phone call about a warrant for his arrest and enters the realms of clarity and confusion. Who can wait quietly till the mud settles? It’s not our business if we’re clear or confused. Whatever arrives carries us through. Stories and koans from the Odyssey, Daodejing, Yunmen, and a hermit who enters the jumbled mountains without a backward glance. As recorded April 24th, 2022.

92' 45"

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Article September 13, 2021

Ordinary Life Is the Way

John Tarrant

It is natural to look for the things you want outside of where you are now. That is the whole point of a journey. Yet this moment is all anyone has. So if freedom, love, beauty, grace, and whatever else is desirable are to appear, they must appear in a now.

330 Words
Audio August 10, 2021

Hearing Secret Harmonies: Koans & Dreams

John Tarrant

There is a rhythm in life that we sometimes hear face-to-face—but often it is like a melody playing somewhere and we can’t make it out. Our secret fidelity to what is most important allows us to hear it.

73' 33"
Audio October 21, 2020

Hanging Lanterns at the Gates of the Autumn Temple: One Treasure

John Tarrant

Hanging Lanterns Series: Zhaozhou meets a practitioner. One treasure, deep in the cosmos, and in you. Seeing, feeling, being inhabited by the light in all things, the eternity in things. The treasure in the simplest things. These are our times; love the treasure in them. Michelle Riddle – vows, Michael Wilding – sax, Amaryllis – violin. PZI Zen Online, as recorded Oct. 11, 2020.

86' 57"
Text August 25, 2020

Hosting the Life You Have – Koans for Hard Times

John Tarrant

Rilke said, “Life is always right.” Whatever I think about that saying, this is the life I have and I can’t have another life. And really, fundamentally, I don’t want another one because this one is so rich and compelling no matter what’s going down right now.

5050 Words
Audio June 11, 2020

When All Buddhas Are Destroyed, What Remains?

Jesse Cardin

PZI Zen Online: Zhaozhou said, “Clay Buddhas cannot pass through water; metal Buddhas cannot pass through a furnace; wooden Buddhas cannot pass through fire.” Which Buddha survives? The mid loves its ideas, structures, concepts and so does society. Some of those constructs are always dissolving. Discomfort of change in society norms and our own personal norms. As recorded June 10, 2020.

61' 55"
Video February 8, 2020
42' 38"
Audio January 29, 2020
42' 32"
Audio December 4, 2019

The Space Between Yes & No

Jon Joseph

Investigating the place of unaming where life comes forward to meet us. It’s a place of risk and desire, play, brightness.

32' 49"