A Meditation Retreat with John Tarrant and friends
June 28 – July 4 @ Land of Medicine Buddha, Santa Cruz, CA
The koan world has a long history of people keeping each other company on a journey. Sitting through the night together, visiting one another for tea or conversation, growing their understanding through conversations and direct attack.
Waking up is something we do together. When the heart opens you hear the wind from the sea, you see your companions with clear eyes, everything is part of your family. When kindness, clarity, and ease dawn on you, everyone around you feels this and in some way all beings everywhere wake up.
Through friends you also encounter your own shadow—envy, jealousy, rage, feeling left out, and since you are with friends you might pause and look, and notice even these dark feelings are friends. You turn toward the disturbing thing and a gate opens, a bright path appears, and you don’t have to be afraid of who you are. You have company when you walk.
Koans are little pieces of wisdom that grow large when you hang out with them. Koans are usually a record of a meeting, of a call and response. A poet walks with her friends and asks about the deepest things, two monks are snowed in on Turtle Mountain for days, 16 Bodhisattvas are getting into the bath together, a tiger gives advice to a lonely hermit.
Koans themselves are friends and companions. You can rely on a koan to be there, it’s not like carrying a burden, it’s not like a bureaucracy in the mind, it’s the surprise you get when you are unexpectedly met. If you don’t call the koan up it will call you. And you can rely on the koan because in its company your mind doesn’t have to make sense.
Silence, companionship on the way, redwoods, long walks in the woods.
Our 7-day retreats are a time to sink deep into what it means to have a practice. This is a time to befriend yourself with time stretching out and nothing to accomplish. There will be meditation, koans, talks, and one on one teaching, along with the chance to just be here for whatever comes.
– John Tarrant, PZI Director