Take a step from the top of the 100-foot pole, and the world in all directions will be your body.
—Zen koan

PZI member Michael Hofmann leading
a sumi-e workshop in Santa Rosa.


Creativity is its own practice, and it is at the heart of what we do.

When you wake up, creativity blossoms. This could shift the way you solve problems at home, or in your work as an engineer, or it could open space for an image or poem to land in your mind. It’s all the same movement towards freedom.

Many members of PZI are artists, professionally or independently, and they contribute greatly to the texture of our community. The practice of koan meditation offers a way for all of us to live our lives creatively, as works of art.

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:


Here are some of the many ways that PZI supports creative process:

  • John Tarrant has developed a unique kind of Zen retreat with a focus on meditation, koans, and the creative process. These are the Open Mind retreats, and they usually happen twice a year. At Open Mind retreats we work with koans, poems, and stories to touch a deep, rich place inside of us, that opens up into fresh awareness. We have time for long walks, conversation, and dreams.
  • Even at a more traditional long retreat, or sesshin, there is space for art. Literally space to make art, as well as the inner space to take creative risks, try something new.
  • PZI publishes the world’s only known magazine of Zen and the arts, Uncertainty Club.

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The PZI Scholarship Fund

Your contributions to this fund go directly to help us offer generous scholarships for attendance at PZI Zen Online 1-day & 2-day retreats, and at our three annual 4-day sesshins in the PZI Digital Temple. There is no replacement for this generosity.

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