Everyone longs for more life and more peace in which to enjoy it. The old Zen people taught by images and stories. When you sit with these little stories and talk about them, something in you rises to meet them, a feeling of joy and equanimity and transparency follows you. A gate opens. It doesn’t have to be a big gate, just a gate. It’s a taste, a little opening, that stands for all openings. It’s the camel’s nose under the tent.

Zhaozhou taught, “’The greatest way isn’t difficult if you don’t pick and choose.’
As soon as I speak, you’ll think, ‘That’s picking and choosing,’ or ‘That’s clear.’ But I don’t identify with clarity. Can you live like that?”
A student asked, “If you don’t identify with clarity, what do you live by?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you don’t know, why do you say that you don’t identify with clarity?”
“When you ask the question you already have it. You can just bow and step back.”

Zen koans offer gateways to the deep places in the heart. There will be meditation, teaching and conversation.


Register Now



  • Location – At a private house in Santa Barbara.
  • Cost $125 Members, $140 Non-Members
  • Time –10:00 am to 4.30 pm
  • Scholarships are available, just ask the registrar, Vickie Miller, at vickieix8@gmail.com
  • A delicious vegetarian lunch will be provided
  • By registering for this event, you are agreeing to our Cancellation Policy.
  • Bring a notebook to write or draw in.


John Tarrant, Roshi is an author and the Director of the Pacific Zen Institute and has been teaching koans for 35 years. He developed a way of working with koans that anyone can use, regardless of their experience of meditation. Meditating and keeping company with a Zen koan can lead to surprising insights and openings. John’s background in Jungian psychology has given him a special interest in dreams, art and stories.

Art Credit: Grant Haffner (b. 1978, Berkeley, CA) – granthaffner.com

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