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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. All event times are Pacific Time. Questions? Contact Karin Pfluger


June 23 Sunday Zen: with John Tarrant & Friends

July 1 Zen Luminaries: David Hinton in Conversation with Jon Joseph & Friends

August 8–11 Open Mind Retreat: with John Tarrant, Allison Atwill, & Tess Beasley


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MONDAY NOTE: The Zen of Therapy and a Hidden Kindness – Monday Note from Jon Joseph

February 19 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

From The Zen of Therapy:

Buddhist contemplation is a kind of therapy, after all; its whole orientation is toward relieving people of needless and self-inflicted psychological suffering. And psychotherapy, like meditation, is at base an inquiry into the nature of the self. The more you examine your experience, the more mysterious and elusive the self becomes … 

Freud famously proclaimed that the best he could do for people was to take them from a state of neurotic misery and return them to one of common unhappiness, while the Buddha promised freedom from both. But when it came right down to it, both sensed salvation in a clear-eyed and realistic appraisal of the human condition, enhanced by a healthy dose of uncertainty.

I realized that a spa treatment is often what people want from meditation—and that it was often being sold as such—but I could tell from my own meditations that relaxation, while an occasional benefit, was not always accessible on demand. For me, meditation had come to mean being with my own mind no matter what state it was in. In this way, it was closer to psychotherapy than I had initially thought.

If it is going to be of any help, we have to actively engage with [meditation] as an art rather than subjecting ourselves to it solely as a science. A goal-oriented approach, whether it is to calm the mind, relax the body, or achieve some kind of transcendental experience, is antithetical to meditation’s greater purpose. For me, the trust and intimacy of the psychotherapeutic relationship was to become instrumental in helping to bring this greater purpose into focus.

There is much to be learned from the lords of the underworld, the uncrowned and exiled kings of the unconscious.

At certain points I sound like a traditional psychodynamic therapist, unpacking the childhood origins of a patient’s persistent negativity. At other times, I continue to offer explicit meditation instruction, hoping to guide someone away from their mind object with its recurrent loops of shame and blame. In still others I am reaching for something else, something my years of meditative practice have inched into my consciousness, the sense that there is an accessible vitality, present from birth, underlying our accrued personalities. In these more unconventional sessions, I use whatever I can to break through a patient’s defenses or to shine a light on a patient’s unexplored natural intelligence.

About Mark Epstein

Mark Epstein, MD, a clinical psychiatrist based in New York City, is a leading author on the subject of interweaving modern psychotherapy and ancient Buddhist meditation. His bestselling books include Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, and most recently, The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering A Hidden Kindness in Life. Mark received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University. He has been a practicing Buddhist, primarily in the Vipassana tradition, for fifty years.

Jon Joseph Roshi


COME JOIN US for on Wednesday for our Zen Luminaures evening with Mark Epstein. Register to participate. All are welcome. Donations gratefully received to support our wonderful guests.

Jon Joseph Roshi, Director of San Mateo Zen Community


February 19
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Jon Joseph Roshi