Friday, May 8, 2009

John Tarrant - Zen Koan Master

John Tarrant - Zen Koan Master
John Tarrant was born and raised in rural Tasmania. His earliest influences included Catholicism (particularly the Latin Mass), Aboriginal culture and English literature and poetry, for which he developed an almost endless appetite. He attended the Australian National University where he earned a dual degree in Human Sciences and English Literature.

Before and after school he worked at a variety of jobs ranging from being a laborer in open-pit mine to fishing the Great Barrier Reef. He also found himself a lobbyist on behalf of the Aboriginal land rights movement. After discovering Buddhist practice he moved to Hawaii where he studied with the renowned koan master and social justice activist Robert Aitken. He is Robert Aitken’s first Dharma successor.

Later he earned his doctorate in Psychology and worked for several years as a psychotherapist. A poet, he has contributed to various journals and is anthologized in Beneath A Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry and What Book!? Buddha Poems From Beat to Hiphop.

Arguably the most interesting and talented koan master in the west, John Tarrant’s many teisho and Dharma talks - collected around the web and beginning to be archived here at the Boundless Way Zen website - are creative and inviting, allowing the reader just as much as the original listener to find ways into this discipline that are both authentic to the tradition and yet as contemporary as this very breath.


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