People go to wild places to search for their true nature.
When you do this, where is your true nature?

—Pacific Zen Miscellaneous Koans

Zen Online

SUNDAY ZEN UPDATE: John is away October 9th (Fall Sesshin), October 16th, and 23rd. He returns to regular Sundays on November 6th.

SPECIAL SUNDAY: 1-Day Ancestor Retreat with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley on October 30th.

TUESDAY ZEN Candlelight Meditation
October 11, 6–7:00 pm PDT
Welcoming the Ancestors


You are invited to join us for an hour of candlelight meditation. Turn off your electric lights, light candles, and enter the temple of the place in which you now reside. We will sit together in twilight, candlelight, moonlight, starlight.

Bursts of orange and deep purple, red and bright gold cover the hillside, announcing that autumn is once again washing over the world with its beauty and change.

On quiet nights the sound of flapping wings breaks the silence, and geese call out in widening rows on their journey to warmer lands.

October 11th: Allison Atwill
October 18th: Michelle Riddle
October 25th: Jesse Cardin

Here’s a foolish notion—
the spirit world is like
an autumn evening


For us, too, a movement begins: the great turning inward toward the dark and firelight. In this space the ancestors are known to gather, whispering the old stories and wisdom, and bringing dreams.

Meditation is a way of welcoming their presence as part of our own, and sinking into that timeless place together where the Dharma was born.

—Allison, Tess, Jesse, & Michelle

Zen Luminaries: Recorded September 25
Through Forests of Every Color
Joan Sutherland in Conversation with Jon Joseph

All for You, Honored One!
VIDEO Clips on the PZI YouTube Channel

October Open Temple

1-Month Meditation Pass
Early Morning Sessions
October 3—November 4

October 30

1-Day Ancestor Retreat with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley on October 30th. Stay tuned for details.


Upcoming Events

6 days & 5 nights
October 4–9
PZI Online Temple
Contact the Registrar

Door After Door Opening Inside
with John Tarrant & Friends 

Upcoming Luminaries

October 24th
Poet Jane Hirshfield

November 28th
Chan Teacher Master GuoGu

December 12th
Translator David Hinton

February 20th
Author Lewis Hyde

Explore the Archive of Luminaries Talks

Coins in the River


Meeting the Inconceivable

A meditation exercise with the rhinoceros koan. Excerpted from John Tarrant’s book, Bring Me the Rhinoceros.

You might think of consciousness as a lamp, making a cone of light on the surface of a desk. Outside the yellow circle everything is dark and unknown.

The usual way of approaching things is to try to extend the yellow circle into the darkness. Or perhaps to drag objects in from the dark. That is conceivable.

This meditation takes things the other way.

—John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros


Talk Transcript

Moonlight on the Path

There is another point of view; it goes something like this:

When you really step into the now, when you really meet today, all the ideas about should have, could have, would have, disappear, and we‘re all participating in this universe.

There’s just the flow of things in the mind, and there’s not a lot of other arrangement around them happening.

I suppose the moonlight is beautiful, but it’s not even beautiful moonlight, although there might be an Ah! quality.  

—John Tarrant, Dharma Talk given on retreat in October 2011


Fortunate Encounters with Unexpected Guests

Tess unleashes demons: Demons abound, and they can be helpful!

We have a protective psychic immune system—what triggers a response? Demons tend to employ certainty and cultivate a life-or-death field of response.

What are they protecting? 

—Tess Beasley, Sunday Talk given on March 20, 2020

New at Pacific Zen Institute


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.


Welcoming the Ancestors – Tuesday Zen with Atwill, Beasley, Cardin, & Riddle

PZI Online Temple
The Universe


Fall Open Temple: October 1-Month Meditation Pass – MEMBERS FREE

OCT 3rd–NOV 4th
PZI Open Temple Online
The Universe


Monday Zen with Jon Joseph Roshi

PZI Zen Online: 6PM PDT
The Universe


CLOSED: Fall Sesshin with John Tarrant & Friends – Door After Door Opening Inside

6 DAYS: OCTOBER 4th–9th
PZI Online Temple
The Universe


Jon Joseph Hosts Zen Luminary Poet & Essayist Jane Hirschfield

PZI Zen Online: 6PM PDT
The Universe