Director of Pacific Zen Institute
I’m interested in Zen as a way that transforms the mind. This makes me an innovator. I studied and taught Zen in a classical manner for about 15 years before developing new ways of introducing koans that even people with no experience of meditation can find useful. I’m not so interested in Zen as a set of rules and procedures. My experiments have led me to trust people more than once I did, and to teach people to trust their own moves. They seem find freedom more natural than I had imagined.
For a couple of decades I did Jungian dream work and I have a PhD in psychology. I helped design the pioneering mind-body curriculum in Integrative Medicine at The University of Arizona at Tucson. It was intended to develop a culture for change in medical education. I also helped design the curriculum at Duke Integrative Medicine.
tarrantworks is my personal site. Articles, poems and event designs are here.
zenosaurus is my blog and primer on how to work with koans in a way that is actually meant to change your life.
Books: Bring Me The Rhinoceros — and Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life (This is a calling card for our approach to Zen) and The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul & the Spiritual Life (This is an integration of Zen and western approaches, especially art, Jungian work and the imagination)
You can email me here.
David Weinstein, Roshi, is lead teacher at PZI’s Oakland Zendo, San Jose Sitting Group and Wind-in-Grass Sangha in San Francisco. He is also a visiting teacher at the Springs Mountain Sangha in Colorado Springs. David lives in Oakland with his wife, where he is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction and spirituality. His teaching emphasizes ways of discovering true Zen practice in the midst of ordinary life. He is especially interested in helping people cultivate an appreciation of koan practice as a way of recognizing our lives as works of art.
Deborah Saint, Sensei, is a koan teacher with Pacific Zen Institute. Deb retired from a long productive and satisfying public service career working with Indian tribes to resolve water resource issues in the Colorado River basin. She has two happy adult children. Deb began her practice with Desert Lotus Zen of the Pacific Zen Institute and has led DLZ for 10 years. She is interested in how koans work to open the heart revealing kindness and compassion.
Desert Lotus website: desertlotuszen.org
Allison Atwill, Sensei, is the PZI koan teacher for Santa Barbara. Allison has the additional role of being PZI’s Art Sensei. She is a visual artist who works in acrylic and whose work is based on an intense and embodied interaction with koans. The way she describes it is that a koan chooses her and begins to show her the images as she paints. The placement of the image in the painting and even the size of the piece are also part of her conversation with the koan. Also included are birds, canyons, snakes, people, anything in the world that comes to meet her when she is in the field of the koan. The way her work makes itself through her is an illustration of the way a koan can open your life when you keep company with it. Allison teaches art at Montecito Union School in Montecito California.
Allison leads the Santa Barbara Koan Group.
Jon Joseph is a PZI Dharma teacher for PZI and the Board President.
Jon started practicing Zen meditation with a group of friends and their Spanish teacher while in high school. Moving his practice for a couple of years through wilderness cabins and logging camps in Alaska, he continued to attend sesshin at ZCLA under Taizan Maezumi Roshi and his students. In college at Arcata, California Jon helped establish a spiritual community, for several years running daily meditation and managing sesshin under the Korean master Rev. Donald Gilbert. He then moved to Japan and studied with Koun Yamada Roshi, in Kamakura, for the next 8 years (with a break for graduate school at University of California, Berkeley).
Steven Grant is a PZI Dharma teacher and is ordained as a priest in both the Soto and Rinzai traditions. Steven has been practicing Zen formally since 1989 and started leading Zen Groups in Seattle and the Washington State Prison system in 1994. His career has transitioned from being an illustrator of cute animals to designing online experiences for folks like Microsoft, Amazon.com and Linden Lab. Steven enjoys exploring how koans help us trip into this moment. He has been known to use puppets or fresh fruit to illustrate a koan.
Joan Sutherland, Roshi, is Senior Teacher Emerita of Pacific Zen Institute and the founder of Awakened Life in Santa Fe, New Mexico; she is the holding teacher for The Open Source, a network of communities and individuals in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and California. She is a writer whose work appears frequently in Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, and a translator from Chinese and Japanese collaborating with John Tarrant on a new translation of three major koan collections. She is deeply involved in re-imagining the koan tradition and exploring its relationship to creativity. For more information, please see awakenedlife.org, a community whose motto is enlightenment as a conspiracy of friends.