Shitou came upon Yaoshan meditating and asked him, What are you doing?
Yaoshan said, I am not doing anything.
Shitou asked, What is this ‘doing nothing’ that you are talking about? 
Yaoshan replied, Not even the ten thousand sages know.


Great Fall Sesshin, IN PERSON with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers: All of Autumn Is in the One Leaf. This is a 6-day and 5-night in-person gathering beginning Tuesday, October 24th at 4 pm and completing Sunday, October 29th at noon. Join us at the beautiful Santa Sabina Center in San Rafael, CA. DETAILS

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

with John Tarrant & Friends
The Zen Arts: Pickles & Poems & Direct Encounter
October 1st at 10:30 am Pacific Time

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.

—John Tarrant

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

We love it when you join us.

Audio: Lazy Summer Afternoons Under the Rose Apple Tree, Part 4 of 4

Even a delicious rest must end.

Jesse Cardin & Tess Beasley on the always-unfolding Way, from August 27, 2023

We cannot even take awakening with us; the path moves on and the universe is always giving us that invitation.

The Dao suffers no plans but its own, and our bodhisattva path requires that we bring it back into the world. Re-entry for a season of rest is required.

We listen to the way the world is always inviting us to the next adventure, inner or outer.

In Zen, the path goes on and on—we find more ways to grow the ways we love our lives. We are not trying to reach a place of endless tranquillity.

Audio: Belinda & the Monster aka Beauty & the Beast

The monster gets a mysterious power from his rose bush. Belinda falls in love with him in spite of his ugliness. Her love breaks the spell that has been cast on him and he turns into a beautiful prince.

Belinda says, ”But I want the monster.”

Slowly, through practice she makes her way into her true path, discovering what she most wants and who she really is.

Sounds like what we are up to.

John Tarrant retells the mythic story of Belinda and the Monster, Italo Calvino’s version of Beauty and the Beast.

This session provides a living encounter with this powerful myth and a glimpse into the personal work of participants during the recent Fall Open Mind retreat.

Where do you find yourself in the story?

Explore Our Archive of Luminaries Talks

Here you’ll find audio of PZI’s Jon Joseph in conversation with exceptional figures in modern Zen: teachers, authors, poets, historians, activists, and artists.

Check Out PZI on YouTube!

All of Autumn
Is in the One Leaf
October 24–29th

Santa Sabina in Northern California
with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers


Weekday Morning
Zazen Returns
6–7AM PT, 7–8 AM ET
Sept 4–Nov 3

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events

Next Luminary: Author Pico Iyer in conversation with PZI’s Jon Joseph
Monday, Oct 30th at 6 PM PDT

Upcoming Luminaries

NEXT: October 30th
Essayist Pico Iyer

November 15th
Author Kim Stanley Robinson

December 11th
Author Mark Epstein, M.D.

What’s in the PZI Library?

Learn how to search our vast KALPA Library to find your teachings and topics.

Coins in the River


The Storehouse of Treasures

You just step into the storehouse and something comes to meet you.

It’s like walking into Ali Baba’s cave—there might be glowworms or pearls, or it might be that your problem is your treasure now.

You might realize you’re part of it too: you’re part of the mystery. It’s not that everybody else is cool and you’re outside.

—John Tarrant, Winter Sesshin 2014

Video Clip

How the Great Matter Works Is Not Your Business!

Don’t be minding other people’s business—don’t even mind your own business! There’s no “you” to mind.

There’s nothing wrong with what comes up in your mind, but you’ll notice it quiets a lot in sesshin, so that even when there’s stuff flowing through the mind, it doesn’t have anything to do with you.

—John Tarrant, dharma talk given in Summer Sesshin 2022


Layman Pang Falls Down

We can love others and want to help them, but wanting so desperately for things to be different is a recipe for suffering.

Can we enter a situation without having any idea of what will happen? Discovering the ground together is the first step.

—Tess Beasley, Sunday Zen, Spring 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.


The Zen Arts: Pickles & Poems & Direct Encounter – Sunday Zen with John Tarrant & Friends

PZI Online Temple: 10:30AM PDT
The Universe


Monday Zen with Jon Joseph

PZI Zen Online: 6 PM PDT
The Universe


Tuesday Zen with David Weinstein

PZI Zen Online: 6PM PDT
The Universe


STILL OPEN: All of Autumn Is in the One Leaf – Great Fall Sesshin In Person with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers

OCTOBER 24th–29th
Santa Sabina Center
San Rafael, CA


MEMBERS FREE: Fall Open Temple 2-Month Pass – Weekday Morning Meditations

SEPT 4th–NOV 3rd
PZI Online Temple
The Universe