Welcome to the PZI KALPA Library!

KALPA—Koans And Liberation Project Archive—the online Zen koan library of  Pacific Zen Institute, was conceived as a way of providing a wider circle for today’s far-flung seekers to sit together, to enter the same timeless questions, and to receive the teachings. For access to the entire collection, and for downloadable audio of meditations and talks, join us as a PZI Member.

Visit the KALPA GUIDE for more info. To get you started, check out curated topics in the dropdown from the menu bar. Explore the PZI koan universe by searching for teachers, topics, koans, or file type—audio, video or text file. Consider the adventure of searching by using a tag.

Enjoy browsing the stacks in the KALPA!

Featured KALPA Files & Archives

Search the KALPA Library

Zen Koan Meditation Practice

Koan practice is at heart a practice of intimacy with life itself. For over twelve centuries, koans have drawn people bearing urgent inquiries of life, death, beauty, and becoming. The tradition began as a way of carrying the discoveries of those willing to enter these questions together, and evolved into a vivid lineage of awakening encounters, still echoing centuries and continents away.

Quickly—without thinking good or evil,
What was your original face
Before your parents were born? —Zen Ancestor Huineng’s
“Original Face” koan


Introduction to Koan Practice: John Tarrant on Working with Koans

A koan is a piece of old wisdom in a very concise form. I think of it as a vial of ancient light that has been passed down to us. It’s the same light that was in the heart of the teacher who invented the koan. Read on 

Image above – Tang dynasty scholar, Xuangzhong carrying scrolls on his back.
Image below: John Tarrant Roshi December 2020.

PZI Teacher Archives

New to the Library

Audio January 26, 2021

The Firstness of Things & A Face in the Dark

John Tarrant

PZi Zen Online: Handing Things on in the Dark. The dark silent time of the year has lasted for 9 months in covid. ‘The whole meaning of your life is in the current matter happening now.’ No explaining it – ‘To be deeply in zen is to be deeply in how to express it.’ First vaccines too and the mysterious freedoms. Jan. 3 2021.John Tarrant welcomes the new year and tours the deep thick dark of midnight. He reads poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins, Anna Swir, Czeslaw Milosz and more. Music from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher.

51' 30"
Audio January 26, 2021

Excerpt: Trusting the Universe in the Deep Dark

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online – Handing Things on in the Dark – The universe takes care of us in the middle of deep thick darkness –

1' 42"
Audio January 25, 2021

Meditation: Suddenly it’s Midnight

John Tarrant

PZI Zen Online – A 10 minute meditation on finding a face at midnight – an excerpt from John Tarrant’s Jan. 3rd 2020 Sunday talk – Handing Things on in the dark

9' 33"
Audio January 25, 2021

Excerpt: The Firstness of Things – the New Year 2021

John Tarrant

Audio Excerpt: Handing Things on in the Dark – the freshness of the new year. The dark silent time of the year. ‘To be deeply in zen is to be deeply in how to express it.’ The mysterious freedoms of the dark. Jan. 3 2021; 2 minutes

1' 59"
Audio January 21, 2021

Sesshin Closing Ceremony: Dedication & Thanks to Ancestors with Richie Domingue

Richie Domingue

PZI Sesshin Dedication and thanks to our Ancestors. Music written & performed by Richie Domingue.

3' 24"