A note from John Tarrant: Meeting the Inconceivable

The world is inconceivable. When we meet the inconceivable without secretly holding anything back, joy appears. And it’s important, the most important thing, that we share that possibility of joy with others. Everyone can find, in the dark, their own true way. This is the ancient road, and it’s not so hard. If we set foot on that road, even for one second, we find that we have been doing it for a thousand years.

—John Tarrant

Chinese calligraphy character: Love by John Tarrant

John Tarrant Reads the Story of the Buddha

John Tarrant reads The Story of the Buddha, a version that has taken shape by being told again and again at Pacific Zen Institute’s annual Buddha’s Life Retreats. Over the years, the story developed through commentary from many of us, and PZI published a limited edition chapbook in 2019. Some are still available. We hope to reprint the book and offer other small publications of Dharma stories next year. Recorded at Buddha’s Life Retreat in 2022.

~ PZI Refuge Ceremony,
   Opening Lines

When knowing stops,
when thoughts about who we are fall away,
vast space opens up and love appears.

When we test each bit of life against the heart,
we find we cannot reject any,
for we are the only hands and eyes that eternity has. 

With our virtues, our failures, and our imperfections,
this is the body we take refuge in;
this is what we offer to the world.

~ PZI Refuge Ceremony,
   Opening Lines

Dear Friends, thank you!

Our temple exists thanks to you, our community, and thanks to our teachers, leaders, staff and musicians who devote countless hours each year.

And we need your help to keep the lamps lit in 2023.

In uncertain times we take refuge together, and each time we turn toward practice, the temple appears.

Tess Beasley Sensei

It’s a place where the wisdom of the ancients has a home, and where creativity blossoms and joy seeds the wider world.

~ Tess Beasley Sensei, President of the PZI Board of Directors

THE PZI DRAGON Needs Your Help in 2023 

Your support would mean the world.

Here’s why:

  • Your coins and bills in the scholarship wishing well make all the difference. We’ve been able to offer thousands in scholarships, but now the well has run dry. Donate here to replenish that fund.
  • Our incredible administrative team also depends on your support. They keep the great wheel of our temple and KALPA library turning, and they’ve got big plans: to improve the registration experience with a member dashboard, create a store, and bring you even more membership benefits.
  • We’ve begun developing our Meeting the Inconceivable podcast, have exciting Zen Luminaries guests in 2023, and have self-guided classes, readings and koan salons for PZI Members in the works. Your support helps make all these programs possible, and allows our Director John Tarrant to keep teaching and dreaming us forward.

    We’d be over the moon with any support you may offer
    whether through an end-of-year donation and/or by increasing your membership contribution for 2023.

Don’t forget

All donations to PZI are tax-deductible, and can be made through your IRA,
or can be granted as stock. 
Our non-profit 501c3 Federal Tax ID number is 68-0226954.
Checks and/or online donations are gladly accepted.
Questions? Contact [email protected] 
Our official mailing address is: P. O. Box 2972 Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Here’s the shortlist of all we’ve shared in 2022:

• Weekly Sundays with John Tarrant – where PZI members and newcomers gather the world over to bathe in silence, koans, poetry, and laughter.

• East /West Open Temples – two hour-long meditations each weekday morning, offered by senior students and free to all members.

•  Our first in-person sesshin since January 2020 – June 2022 Taking Part in the Gathering, where eight bodhisattvas took refuge, and huggers rejoiced.

• Two deep and lively online sesshins– Winter & Silence, Moonlight & Snow in January 2022 + Door After Door Opening Inside in October 2022

• Two intensive leadership retreats – designed to support our leaders and senior students in holding and passing along our tradition and the PZI Way.

• Zen Luminaries interview series with Jon Joseph – conversations with ten extraordinary figures in modern Zen, about their work and practice.

• Dedicated evening dharma talks, community building, mentorship, and newsletters from:

     Allison Atwill 
of Coral Moon Zen 
     Jesse Cardin of It’s Alive Zen
     Jon Joseph 
of San Mateo Zen
     David Parks of Bluegrass Zen
     David Weinstein of Oakland Zen

Candlelight meditation – with beauty, poetry, and silence carrying us into night.

• PZI Talk LIVE evenings – a members-only koan salon, with intimate discussions and practice exploration led by senior students.

• A self-guided refuge series – a rich deep-dive into PZI’s new precepts course, for those considering refuge.

With your support, we’ve also been able to:

  • Offer thousands in scholarships to folks who need them to attend our retreats.
  • Expand the now largest koan-dedicated library in the West, by adding hundreds of talks, articles, and transcripts to our online KALPA library.
  • Launch our new website, lovingly designed to better share the strange magic of koans with the world, and make it easier for members to find the goods. Don’t miss our Member Stories section—join us to become part of the gallery!
  • Publish quarterly newsletters filled with haiku, dharma, music, and stories to nourish practice and add wonder to your day.

                                                          Thank you!