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

Text July 22, 2021

How to Get Lost (And What to Do When You Are There)

John Tarrant

454 Words


Article July 22, 2021

Surprises on the Way: An Article By John Tarrant

John Tarrant

Meditation offers a path out of the burning house, without abandoning the promise and good-heartedness of being human. Practice is the last best hope of living up to that good-heartedness, the only thing that never hurts and usually helps. And even at the beginning of the meditation path, on a good day it’s exciting. It actually makes you happy.

3474 Words
Audio July 19, 2021

I Share Your Joy! Overheard Conversations – Evening Words

David Weinstein

David Weinstein sends participants off for the evening with words – how things are shared and handed on. 7 minutes.

6' 13"
Audio July 19, 2021

All Through the Body – Your Unique Recipe for Awakening

Allison Atwill

We are exhausted by our own agendas – In Chan the Bodhisattva of Great Mercy vows to stay until all beings are awakened. Her primary bond is with uncertainty. Your recipe for awakening is only for you.

55' 15"
Audio July 19, 2021

Musical Meditation

Michael Wilding

Michael Wilding – an original composition on flute, recorded during sesshin.

4' 58"