A student asked Mazu, “How is it?”
Mazu replied, “Since the turmoil of the barbarian invasions, it’s been it’s been thirty years of temporary getting-by, but I’ve never lacked for salt or sauce.” 

—Great Ancestor Horse (Master Ma)

The Pacific Zen Institute is a community that embraces koan practice, creativity, and real life. Our mission is to create a culture of transformation through meditation, koans, conversation, and the arts. Join us!

SAVE THE DATES: Creatures of the Summer Dawn – Summer Sesshin, In Person!

GREAT SUMMER SESSHIN: June 12–18, 2023
Santa Sabina Center in Northern California

Fox and buffalo, dogs and flesh eating demons, ghosts, people divided into two beings, tigers who befriend Chan masters, dragons, learned tea ladies—all appear in our koan stories.

All these creatures are present in our waking consciousness, but also they move around and call for us in our dreams and sleep. They occupy a place in the deeps where we enter the koan lands.

Join us for an exploration of our own true nature. Registration coming soon!

Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha, Savoring the Eternal & Ephemeral
with Guest Host Tess Beasley & Co
Sunday, April 2, 10:30 AM PDT

Hi Friends,

John Tarrant is on the mend, but really needs his rest; so we’ll gather once more and keep his seat warm this Sunday. I look forward to being with you.

We’ll pull up a cushion for Great Ancestor Ma, too, who in the canonical Blue Cliff Record offers a glimpse into the eternal and ephemeral inside each of us, and indeed inside everything—and the great beauty of savoring them both as we surf the uncertainty of our lives.

Ancestor Ma was sick.
The superintendent of the monastery asked him, “How are you feeling these days?” The ancestor said, “Sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha.”

We cannot help but be shaped by our encounters with sickness, aging, and death; it is no mistake they arrive as messengers to young Siddhartha in concert with the path to freedom.

In brushing up against all that crumbles and fades, we are met and held by that which endures. The ancestors called it simply: This.

Says Rilke, “Life has not forgotten you … it holds you in its hand … it will not let you fall.”

Waking up is something we do together in the online temple on Sundays.

Join us for stories, music, companionship and deep silence.

—Tess Beasley

Jesse Cardin Roshi’s Boundless A Cappella Vows
Tess Beasley – The Red Thread – Being Touched

Everywhere, It’s Everywhere You Look with John Tarrant

Feeling the time, is a line from the poet Du Fu. The time is always with us, and it’s always too early to despair.

We’re just here, not wanting anything to be different. Objections are full of knowing! 

You step out of the way you are perceiving the world, the dream of who you are—you turn the light backward.

Master Dongguo asks, “Where is this thing called the Dao?”
Zhuangzi says, “It’s in the lowest of the low—the grass, the shards, the ants, the piss and shit!”

From Sunday Zen with John Tarrant & Friends on February 26, 2023.

with Jon Joseph

Meditation & Talk with Jon Roshi
April 3 at 6 PM PDT


Upcoming Events

PZI Members FREE
Spring Open Temple

We sit together with one koan each week. Not a member? Become one.

Through April 28—join us!

Upcoming Luminaries

April 24th
Author Frank Ostaseski

May 29th
Author Ruth Ozeki

September 18th
Author Ocean Vuong

October 30th
Essayist Pico Iyer

Check out PZI on YouTube

You’ll find a wealth of clips and full length videos from Sunday Zen, sesshins, and more! Featuring John Tarrant and PZI Teachers.

Explore Our Archive of Luminaries Talks

Listen to audio of special guests in conversation with PZI’s Jon Joseph. Past guests include Joan Sutherland, Jane Hirshfield, Red Pine, David Hinton, and many more.

Coins in the River


Spring Equinox: Return from the Dark

The great lesson: it’s not outside of you.

Transmission happens when we let our hearts open. It comes from a free heart.

Taking up the koan you are given is a little temple to live in. Koans do what they do without consulting anyone.

The work reveals a wonderful quality, of the world coming to meet us.

The great lesson: It’s not outside of you, and you can’t legislate your own enlightenment.

—John Tarrant, Sunday Zen dharma talk given March 21, 2021


Whatever Appears Is Part of Your Awakening

Mara is identifying with and becoming our objections and compulsions, and absolutely and completely believing in them.

The direct encounter with whatever appears is not a gradual entering, but a moment in which we are suddenly all the way in.

And there is a satisfaction in that moment. Nothing else is needed. There is no sense of longing. There is a sufficiency in the moment.

Awakening in even its darkest form is there for me. A treasure for me alone.

—Allison Atwill, dharma talk given in Spring Sesshin 2021.


Following the Scent of Flowers

There’s a spaciousness inside all situations. We’re walking through them, and underneath our feet there’s space and light, and around us. And we’re walking through that space and light.

That, then, is the source of empathy and love. And we accompany each other—and we don’t have to take ourselves or each other so seriously.

I went out following the scented grass, and came back chasing falling flowers.

Just let it into your heart as you do with a koan. Obviously, this is not a meditation you can do wrong—you can’t stroll the wrong way in the hills.

—John Tarrant, Sunday Zen dharma talk given in May 2020

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.


Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha – Sunday Zen with Guest Host Tess Beasley

PZI Online Temple: 10:30AM PDT
The Universe


SUMMER SESSHIN: Creatures of the Summer Dawn with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers

JUNE 12th–18th
Santa Sabina Center
San Rafael, CA


MEMBERS FREE – Early Spring Open Temple: 2-Month Meditation Pass

MARCH 6th–APRIL 28th
PZI Open Temple
The Universe


Monday Zen with Jon Joseph

PZI Zen Online: 6PM PDT
The Universe


Wednesday Zen with David Weinstein

PZI Zen Online: 7PM PDT
The Universe