Yunmen said: In the center of the cosmos, inside heaven and earth, there is one treasure, hidden in the body. It picks up a lantern and walks into the meditation hall. It brings the three-tiered entrance gate and puts it on top of the lantern.

—The Blue Cliff Record, Case 62

Happy New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Welcome Water Rabbit 4720

with John Tarrant & Friends
February 12th, 10:30 am PST
In Front of the Dead Tree Cliff,
Flowers Are Always in Bloom

John Tarrant Returns 


Meditation is not a task with a known goal. It’s something you can’t do wrong, a chance for the things of this world to come towards you and to meet you, for doors to open by themselves, and for us to see where the ancient paths lead.


Waking up is what we do together in the online Temple.

We love it when you join us. 

—John Tarrant 

Videos: Great Silence at the Beginning
Clips from January Sunday Zen

Jesse Cardin identifies some properties of great silence: it can not be tarnished or eroded; it can, of course, be obscured. Great silence can show up anywhere. From Jesse’s Sunday Zen talk given on January 15, 2023. 6 minutes.

Tess Beasley welcomes Sunday participants with a 5-minute meditation with the koan, The Great Silence at the Beginning. From Tess’ Sunday Zen talk given on January 8, 2023.

Secret Friendship Along the Way

John Tarrant: There is a secret quality of friendship that is very close to enlightenment. Friendship is a state of freedom—you don’t want each other to be different; a tolerance comes out of the heart.

Deep friendship has a long arc: Buddha realized that Mara would miss him if he left. August 25, 2022.

Author Lewis Hyde Talks with Jon Joseph

Lewis Hyde is a national treasure, one of the true superstars of nonfiction. —David Foster Wallace

Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. Hyde’s most recent book, A Primer for Forgetting, explores the many situations in which forgetfulness is more useful than memory—in myth, personal psychology, politics, art & spiritual life.


Upcoming Events

Upcoming Luminaries

February 20th
Author Lewis Hyde

March 27th
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

April 24th
Author Frank Ostaseski

May 29th
Author Ruth Ozeki

Oct 30th
Essayist Pico Iyer

Explore the Archive of Luminaries Talks

Check out PZI on YouTube

harbor seals at pt reyes national seashore

Coins in the River


That Solitary Brightness Is You

The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours.

The Linji koans we worked with during this retreat are variants on Linji’s “There’s nothing I dislike.” They all appear from this core. When you only don’t object to or exclude reality, the brightness is there.

—John Tarrant, dharma talk given in Summer Sesshin 2016


The Well at the Heart of the World

In a well that has not been dug
water ripples from a spring that doesn’t flow. Someone with no shadow or form
is drawing the water.

—Pacific Zen Miscellaneous Koans, Case 22 (from a poem by Ikkyu)

The miscellaneous koans open a path through the heart of the world. The world comes to meet us, and we meet each other. When we know that deeply, it changes everything. There’s a different you that’s seeing things.

—John Tarrant, dharma talk given in Fall Sesshin 2021


The Moon Sets at Midnight

The koan path doesn’t ask you to replace the wrong thought with the right thought. Meditation offers you a choice; you can notice what you are thinking and see if you agree with it.

As the Heart Sutra says, even thoughts are empty, and if we are willing not to know, willing to walk through life without believing every thought that arises, then we’ll find a path out of suffering.

So to you, Friend, I confide my secret: to be a discoverer you hold close whatever you find, and after a while you decide what it is. Then, secure in where you have been, you turn to the open sea and let go.

—John Tarrant, dharma talk given in sesshin at St. Dorothy’s Rest

Door After Door


New to Pacific Zen Institute? – Welcome!

WELCOME! At PZI we’re creating a culture of transformation through meditation, koans, conversation, and the arts. Explore and connect in PZI Zen Online events, our extensive Koans and Liberation Project Archive (KALPA), and more.


Zen Luminaries: Lewis Hyde in Conversation with Jon Joseph

PZI Zen Online: 6PM PST
The Universe


In Front of the Dead Tree Cliff, Flowers Are Always in Bloom – Sunday Zen with John Tarrant & Friends

PZI Online Temple: 10:30AM PST
The Universe


Tracking A Solitary Boat – Wednesday Zen with David Weinstein

PZI Zen Online: 7PM PST
The Universe


Thursday Zen with David Parks

PZI Zen Online: 4PM PST
The Universe


WAITING LIST ONLY: The Fleeting Kiss of Beautiful Things – Open Mind Retreat with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley

MARCH 16th–19th
Commonweal Center
Bolinas, CA