Jesse Cardin arrived at a PZI retreat in Northern California some years ago and found that koans worked well with his imagination, so he stayed. He’s a musician and songwriter. He also writes really interesting things about koans on his blog, It’s Alive!  Since that first koan retreat, Jesse moved once to Virginia, where he finished a degree in counseling, and then to San Antonio, Texas, where he is setting up a brand new Pacific Zen center. Because in December 2014 Jesse was made a Sensei – a real-life, PZI koan teacher!

Here’s what Jesse said about membership, way back when:

I don’t read manuals. I would rather reinvent the wheel than take lessons or ask for advice. I’ve never been much of a joiner of groups. Sometimes I disagree with people just to disagree, just to not take a stance that is already taken. Strangely enough, I feel at home being a member of PZI.

It’s not because they offer a pre-packaged dogma or ideology that I can adopt as my own, but because it is an organization full of people who value personal experience. Nobody tells me what to do; instead they give me the strength and encouragement to find my own way in life, not to serve some ideal about being an individual, but because it’s my life and I’m the only one who can really find my way in it.

To me, being a member of PZI means that not only do I value PZI’s work for myself, but that I value it for others as well. I have experienced a tremendous transformation in the way I experience my life due to PZI’s teachers, programs and community, and my greatest wish for anyone is that they can get a piece of that action, too.



Read more member stories here.

Jesse Cardin is a serious cat lover.


Listen to Jesse’s song,”The Choicehereor read some of his writings at Uncertainty Club.