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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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MONDAY ZEN LUMINARIES: Through Forests of Every Color with Special Guest Joan Sutherland – in Conversation with Jon Joseph

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

Free – $12


Join us on Monday night when we visit with Joan Sutherland Roshi for a conversations on koans, her new book, and the nature of endarkenment.

Here is a tree, older than the forest it stands in.
If you guess its age, it’s twice as old.
Its roots met the changes of hills and ravines,
its leaves were altered by wind and frost.
Everyone laughs at its outer decay,
failing to appreciate the colorful patterns within.
Its bark may have peeled away,
but there is only truth inside.

—Cold Mountain (Hanshan)

Joan Sutherland Roshi is a teacher in the koan tradition, co-founder of the Pacific Zen School, and founder of The Open Source, a network of Zen communities. A translator of classical Chinese, she is the author of Vimalakirti and the Awakened Heart. Her collected writings and teachings are online at Cloud Dragon: The Joan Sutherland Dharma Works.

Here are some excerpts from her most recent book, Through Forests of Every Color; Awakening with Koans:

Koan Tradition

How, actually, do koans work? What are they for?

If practitioners are having experiences both profound and outside the received tradition, do the practitioners have to adapt, or does the tradition? How deep, really, is our understanding of the ancestors? And underneath everything else, what do the koans themselves want?

I’ve come to see that the koan tradition isn’t static, but supple and curious. Also, not yet complete. Zen is the unfinished koan.


Chan practice wasn’t about getting free of the world, it was about being free in the world.

How do we fall willingly into the frightened, blasted, beautiful, tender world?

Throughout the koans there’s a focus on serving, meaning caring for a world as wondrous and devastating as we are. Koan meditation’s inward turn serves an outward orientation; the aim of koan practice is to open a path into the world, a path that recognizes the luminous nature of things and also the complicated poignancy of embodied life.

It’s not enough to see what buddha nature is; you have to realize what buddha nature does.


If you think of the Chinese and Japanese sense of a unified heart-mind, enlightenment is roughly related to the illumination of the mind, endarkenment to the liberation of the heart.

The distinction between them isn’t hard and fast; there are lots of boundary crossings. Enlightenment is, again roughly, what we come to know, while endarkenment is what we come to realize that we can’t know.

Insight and mystery, each with its radiance.

More about Joan Sutherland Roshi:

After practicing in the Soto Zen and Tibetan traditions, Joan Sutherland returned to her early love—koan study. She studied with John Tarrant and was made Roshi in his lineage in 1998. Together they co-founded the Pacific Zen School.

Over the decades, Joan Sutherland’s teaching and writing has explored how koans enliven, subvert, and sanctify us. Her books include: Through Forests of Every Color, Vimalakirti & The Awakened Heart, and Acequias & Gates: Miscellaneous Koans and Miscellaneous Writings on Koans. Her work is the subject of a short film, The Radiance of the Dark, evoking her vision of an awakening that embraces “endarkenment” as well as enlightenment.

Sutherland is currently working on a long-term project to translate the major koan collections from the classical Chinese.

Jon Joseph Roshi

Join us on Monday for a lively conversation about Chan, Zen, and more with special guest Joan Sutherland Roshi. All are welcome. Register to participate.

—Jon Joseph


September 19
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Free – $12
Event Category:


PZI Online Temple


Jon Joseph Roshi
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