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 May 11, 2021

Guided Meditation: Free & Easy Wandering – Jiashan’s State of Mind

A guided meditation with John Tarrant. The koan for this meditation was translated by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland: “What is Jiashan’s state of mind?” 20 minutes as recorded May 9, 2021.

20' 52"
Audio May 11, 2021

Free & Easy Wandering: Jiashan’s State of Mind

John Tarrant

A Mothers’ Day salute to the great mother in all her forms, the Valley Spirit and our own mysterious mothers. Wandering free and easy, without judgments or interruptions, the space inside of everything is a kind of light that gradually becomes visible. PZI Zen Online. Includes music for meditation from Jordan McConnell. As recorded: 23 minutes, May 9, 2021.

28' 30"


Article May 7, 2021

Sudden Awakening

John Tarrant

“In even the simplest life, pain and disappointment accumulate—and at some moment everyone longs to walk through a gate and leave the past behind, perhaps for an earlier time when the colors were bright and the heart carried no weight. The quest for a fresh start is so fundamental that it defines the shape of the stories we tell each other.” Article by John Tarrant published in Lion’s Roar magazine on July 1, 2007.

4320 Words
Audio May 7, 2021
6' 19"
Audio May 7, 2021

Free & Easy Wandering: Following the Scent of Grass

John Tarrant

John Tarrant begins with a wild Daoist story from the Zhuangzi, about a giant fish named Kun. The freedom is in your own breast and the koan path opens the way. Includes meditation segments, music from Michael Wilding, vows from Jordan McConnell & Amaryllis Fletcher, Cantor. PZI Zen Online. As recorded May 2, 2021.

73' 39"