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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. Questions? Contact [email protected].


Sunday Zen: John Tarrant next on December 4

Year’s End Open Temple: November 7–December 30

NEW DATE: Buddha’s Life in Your Life with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley on December 11

SAVE THE DATES: Winter Sesshin, January 31–February 5


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ZEN LUMINARIES: Silent Illumination – Jon Joseph in Conversation with Chan Teacher Master GuoGu

November 28 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Free – $12


Join us this Monday night for conversation with Master Guo Gu, Chan (Zen) scholar, leader of the Tallahassee Chan Center, and founder of the Dharma Relief Project. Guo Gu, also known as Jimmy Yu, is one of the most fascinating Zen Buddhist teachers active today, having himself plunged deeply into two cultures: ancient Chan and contemporary America.

On Hongzhi’s silent illumination:

Hongzhi Zhenguje, a 12th century poet and meditation master, is one of the leading figures in the history of Chan (Zen), having revived the Caodong (Soto) school following its demise in Song China. Some Western scholars link him to a meditation technique know as “silent illumination,” a cool, if not cold, reductionist form of sitting: no thoughts, feelings, or sensations are permitted.

Master Guo, a teacher in both the Caodong and Linji (Rinzai) Zen schools, believes Hongzhi is deeply misunderstood by modern scholars. “Silent illumination” was not a method of meditation at all, argues Guo Gu in his book, Silent Illumination: A Chan Buddhist Path to Natural Awakening (2020), but is Buddha nature itself:

Hongzhi’s masterful command of the Chinese language, and his fondness for poetry in particular, is evident in the imagery he used to describe silent illumination, whose qualities are freedom, openness and clarity. In other words, for him, silent illumination was awakening. He never presented it as a ‘method’ or ‘technique’ for meditation practice.

—excerpt from Silent Illumination

Far from advocating a retreat from the world, Guo Gu believes Hongzhi’s rich prose urges us to plunge deeper into life:

Multitasking amid chaos, manifesting in places of encounter—none of these are realms outside yourself. Heaven and earth share the same root; the myriad forms are of a single body. Adapting to changes and transforming freely without being manipulated by those who curry favor—this is to actualize great freedom. Traveling like the wind; illuminating like the moon; encountering things without obstructions. . . entering the currents to be one with the dusty world, you transcend everything and shine in brilliance.


Jimmy Yu (born 1968), also known as Guo Gu (果谷), is a Chan teacher and a scholar of Buddhism. At fourteen, Guo Gu took up study in Taiwan with Chan Master Shen Yen. He then moved to the US, where he was the bassist for American 1980s hardcore bands Death Before Dishonor and Judge. After his youthful days in hardcore, he returned to Buddhism and ordained as a monk under Chan Master Sheng Yen (193–2009), and for many years served as Shen Yen’s assistant, translator, and finally, successor.

In 2000, he left monasticism to pursue academia. He received an MA degree in Chinese Buddhist studies from University of Kansas in 2002 and a PhD from Princeton University’s Department of Religion in 2008.

Guo Gu is currently an Associate Professor of Religion at Florida State University, teaching courses in East Asian religious traditions, especially Chinese Buddhism and late imperial Chinese cultural history. His research interests include the cultural history of the body, Buddhist monasticism, Chan/Zen Buddhism, and popular religions within the broader context of fifteenth- to seventeenth-centuries China.

In recent years, he founded of the Dharma Relief Project, which raised over $100,000 to buy surgical masks in the early days of the Covid pandemic.

Learn more about him at

Jon Joseph Roshi


Join us on Monday for a lively conversation about Honghzhi, Chan/Zen, and more with special guest Master GuoGu. All are welcome. Register to participate.

—Jon Joseph


November 28
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Free – $12
Event Category:


PZI Online Temple


Jon Joseph Roshi
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