We are happy you are here, peering through that gate,
ready to embrace your own life.


PZI Transmission Ceremony: Tess Beasley Sensei & Roshis Allison Atwill, Jesse Cardin, David Weinstein, John Tarrant, David Parks & Jon Joseph

How Do We Create a Culture of Transformation?

The important part of awakening, the fun part, is to embody the transformation and actually live in the world that’s transformed. We find out what it’s like to be free, to live inside a mind that’s open and free — and that’s worth a lot. One feature of awakening is that it’s light; you can ‘travel’ easily because you don’t need a lot of equipment. Effort and apparatus turn out to be optional. It’s something anyone can do.

Koan Zen

Koans and vows understood as koans take us down a level to put us in touch with the deeper, mysterious current of things. This is where practice becomes a path. A refuge ceremony can be a station on this path as well, a blessing and an initiation. 


A Koan for Practicing Together

In the old days there were sixteen bodhisattvas.
They all got into the bath together and realized the cause of water. 
They called out, ”This subtle touch reveals the light that is in everything.
We have reached the place where the sons and daughters of the Buddha live.”

—The Blue Cliff Record,  Case 78


John Tarrant recently sat down with Jane Kolleeny of the Garrison Institute to discuss the approach to creativity, koans, and meditation that John and the PZI community have developed over the last 30 years.

You can watch that 4-minute video here.


Try a Koan Right Now

The best way to learn about 
meditation & koans 
is to try them. 

Here are 6 guided koan meditations:


The Nature of (Koan) Practice with John Tarrant

In practice you are traveling, you are on a path. It is different from a plan because you are on uncertain turf. Practice also has more love in it because you are moving in the dark in a positive way. The koan is like the dog that follows you around with a ball—it foils your serious plans.

What Is Meditation?

Buddhist meditation is something to do, not to believe…

It is a practice—something you do over and over again, as in “I’m practicing the guitar,” or “I’m practicing my video game.” If you practice meditation in this regular way, Buddhism has a mysterious and unpredictable healing power. By mysterious, I mean that while the effect of meditation is more or less as advertised, you are on a journey that does not reveal all its features at once, and even the destination is uncertain.

—John Tarrant


an installation to amplify natural sounds – we all have one

John Tarrant on Koan Zen & the Hard Bits

The hard bits of life might not be the ones you are dreading. The good bits might be the ones that are always available—a slant of light through the garden and then the rain, running inside to get dry, cooking for friends, the sound of a bird in the early morning when you can’t get back to sleep, the act of impulsively giving something away when you have almost nothing. When you are present in your own life, it extends infinitely in every direction.

—John Tarrant Roshi


Article: It Would Be a Pity to Waste a Good Crisis


It’s important not to discount the idea that in a crisis, you might be having the time of your life.

Zen teacher John Tarrant offers seven guidelines for taking advantage of life’s crises and surprises.

Someone asked, “When times of great difficulty visit us, how should we meet them?”
The teacher said, “Welcome.”

The new world looks surprisingly like the old one, except that it’s different...read on

Article by John Tarrant, published in Lion’s Roar magazine, March 23, 2018

David Weinstein on the Nature of the Koan Path

A while back there was a conversation about what koans do and somebody said they “untie our shoelaces.” I liked that. We have the shoelaces of our life all tied up nice and neat, based on the way we think things are, and hanging out with a koan will untie that knot and we may very well trip and fall into a whole new way of experiencing things.

So, I’d have to say that the practice helps both with the falling down and the standing up.

—David Weinstein Roshi


Audio: When Do We Choose with David Weinstein

The pandemic has altered the usual ways we choose. What is “picking and choosing”? When does choice occur? When do I “not choose” but say yes to life’s flow? David recounts many of life “yeses” before thinking picking or choosing. How we find what we don’t think we are looking for.

goats invade town during pandemic lockdown

Our Community:
Various Ways to
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We’d like to hear from you too. Conversation has always been in our mission statement, and that’s because all beings have Buddha nature—we walk together and open the way for each other and learn from each other.

Still Curious?

If you are still curious about us, you can follow these links to go deeper, sign up for our Dragon of Requirement Newsletter, or contact corey@pacificzen.org for more information.


The Dragon of Requirement Newsletter Archive

Our PZI newsletter is another way to stay connected with our far-flung sangha that spans oceans and continents. Each issue has material about what’s up on Zoom, bits of Dharma, and pieces by PZI teachers and students. Usually we include excerpts and full recordings of recent dharma talks.

We want the newsletter to be a welcoming place, somewhere you go to find the spirit of surprise and companionship in our interesting times.

structure by Hector Triana, landscape by Julia Pankofer (Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2013)

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