Standing at the Blue Cliff: The Enlightenment Talks

Pacific Zen Institute presents a limited edition DVD offer – scenes from an extraordinary retreat with two Zen masters, and a chance to support our ongoing work.

In Autumn 2012, Zen koan masters John Tarrant and Joan Sutherland came together to converse about The Blue Cliff Record, the first great collection of koans, now almost 1,000 years old. It’s a text filled with stories that change you. We are thrilled to be able to offer this DVD record of the event—a chance to witness their collaboration in a set of live conversations about Zen, koans, and enlightenment.

Your donation will be a tax-deductible contribution that will help PZI continue to build the culture of awakening



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The weekend captured in this DVD represents a formative moment in the transformation of koan work. Tarrant and Sutherland have translated these old, familiar koans using fresh, modern, yet faithful language that opens up the material in new ways. This is a chance to hear them think and work and talk through the literature of awakening.

How do we wake up to who we are? And why do we sometimes forget?
How does enlightenment affect our lives? Is there a transformation that is irreversible?

Koans were meant to be used not as puzzles to be solved or rules to be followed, but as joyful, radical gateways to change your life. The Blue Cliff is for here and now, a way to step onto the path of awakening in the midst of this world, and your everyday life.

“This is the promise of the Blue Cliff,” says Sutherland. “It’s not about knowing the stuff, not about knowing how to say it nicely… It’s about really resolving the great matter… The Blue Cliff is saying we’re all here suspended in emptiness. How then should we live?”



$50 members/$65 non-members.


  • Two dual-layer DVDs, beautifully packaged and printed, with material from all four days of talks. 
  • A high-resolution audio version of the talks for mobile and home listening, available via download from Bandcamp.


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Your purchase payment is a tax-deductible contribution to support the continued work of the Pacific Zen Institute, a 501c3 non-profit organization. For that we are very thankful.  




The Standing at the Blue Cliff event was produced by Rachel Boughton, Roshi. The DVD was produced and edited by Odin Halvorson from video shot by Jan Brogan. For all that we are very thankful, too.


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