PZI This Year & Next - Feeding Our PZI Dragon for the Year of the Tiger 2022

There is a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form.
It knows how to listen to the teachings, it knows how to understand the teachings, it knows how to teach.
That solitary brightness is you.

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PZI Events Calendar

W E L C O M E  to the PZI Events Calendar! Here you will find all upcoming events and registration links for PZI Zen Online retreats, sesshins, and weekly meditations & talks. Search by individual event, day, or month. Save to your Google Calendar or iCal Calendar. No experience required to participate. Questions? Contact corey@pacificzen.org.


Sundays: 4-Part New Year’s Series with Allison, Tess, Jesse & Michelle: Hakuin’s Praise Song

Weekly Meditation & Talks: Monday – Thursday, join us

Alternating Tuesdays: PZI Talk LIVE! with Gaffney & Hitchcock

Upcoming: Winter Sesshin: Winter & Silver, Moonlight & Snow

This Week: Hakuin Part 4, Winter Open Temple Meditation Pass


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Won’t You Turn Toward Me? Monday Meditation with Jon Joseph

January 17 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Free – $10

Register here for Jon’s Monday Meditation & Talk

Kochira muke
Ware mo sabishiki
Aki no kure.

Won’t you turn toward me?
I too am lonely.
On this fall evening.

—Matsuo Basho, d. 1694

Basho’s warm and tender haiku is about the emotion derived from our exile, expressing the deep human yearning we have for connection. It is not hard to imagine the foot-traveler Basho, who preferred the company of men, at a small country inn in the cold of autumn or winter, imploring a new-found friend to turn toward him. He too is lonely. We all are lonely.

That we feel lonely and separate from the world is perhaps the very basis for Buddhist practice. Shakyamuni’s first teaching was that the pain of human existence arises from our belief that there is a gap between us and all other things: a gap of our own creation that must be overcome. Practice is learning that this gap never existed.

There is a koan about aloneness that appeared for me some years ago. Each time I investigate it, even decades later, I find that its meaning evolves:

Qingshui went to his teacher, Caoshan, and implored him, “I am alone and destitute. Please help me.“
Shan said, “Shui!”
“You have had three cups of the finest wine in China, and still you say you have not wet your lips!”

—Gateless Barrier, Case 10

Many years ago, I entered sesshin in Kamakura while working on this koan. It seemed that life events were conspiring against me. I had recently broken up with my girlfriend (our trip to the Philippines did not go so well) and only a few days prior had been fired from my job—my boss had flown from Boston to Tokyo, unannounced, to tell me in person.

Sesshin started and I went into the dokusan room, and apparently gave the wrong response to the above koan because my teacher sent me back 40 koans. Now I felt as if I had also lost my teacher. Utterly miserable, “alone and destitute,” I went back into the zendo and wept.

When I wrote about this koan a few years ago, I was a bit critical of my teacher; suggesting that if his style had only been more communicative and Western, he would have recognized my condition and given me a gold star rather than demerits. But I don’t see it in terms of understanding or misunderstanding any more.

To suggest that something in our teacher-student exchange was out of place or could have been improved upon, simply does not capture the spirit of the koan. Caoshan is telling Qingshui that even in the midst of his aloneness and impoverishment of spirit, he is living the finest life in all China. The miserable Shui is shining with a subtle and gracious light which he cannot see. And in that moment of lost girlfriend, job, and teacher, I was shining with that gracious light as well.

Jon Joseph Roshi

We are not alone in the world. We have each other to turn toward. On a cold winter night, all we need to do is ask.

—Jon Joseph

Join us for a koan, meditation, dharma talk, & conversation. All are welcome. Register to participate.



January 17
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Free – $10
Event Category:


PZI Digital Temple


Jon Joseph Roshi
Register here to attend: