Pacific Zen Institute is a community in the Rinzai Zen tradition that embraces koan practice, creativity, and real life.

Our mission is to create a culture of transformation through meditation, koans, conversation, and the arts.

After twenty years of teaching koans in a classical way, John Tarrant discovered ways of teaching koans that can orient anyone, including people who have no experience with meditation or Zen, towards a rich, full engagement with their own lives, and towards awakening.

We encourage people to take one step into freedom, and then the next, and then the next, and everything we do in PZI is directed to that end.

Here are some ways to explore our practice:

Check our Calendar for upcoming online sessions which will feature meditation with a Zen Koan spoken into the meditation by the teacher, followed by a dharma talk and generally some shared conversation, reflections, insights afterward on how this is appears your life. No obligation to share here. Click the register here link for your zoom link. You may opt to pay $10. if you can to help us keep the online temple going or join us for free. 

Our KALPA library is the heart of the PZI website. Here you can delve into koan meditation practice by listening to dharma talks or reading transcriptions going back many years. John Tarrant is our founder and senior Roshi, but PZI has many wonderful Teachers within the tradition who all offer regular or occasional online sessions. These gatherings are always open to you as a newcomer and a great introduction to each teacher.

If you find you would like to spend more time in our library and with our teachers to get to know the larger community, you can become a PZI Member at a level that is comfortable for you.

Members are able to participate in our private google group PZI Talk which focuses on community in practice. Members may download all audio files from the KALPA library and receive discounts for retreats and sesshins.

You may wish to and attend online meditation sessions, retreats and seasonal sesshins.

All of this is open to you as a newcomer – no experience necessary. Here’s a koan for you to take with you now:

Dizang asked Fayan, “Where are you going?”
Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”
Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”
Fayan said, “I don’t know.”
Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.” – Mumonkan Case 62


And here is a related file in the KALPA: Not Knowing is Most Intimate – a Dharma talk on the Book of Serenity
given by John Tarrant at Fall Sesshin 2019, Land of Medicine Buddha.

Freely explore all the links in our menu.

Some pages you may find interesting:

Meditation Practice

Member Stories

Koan Lineage

KoansHealing stories & poems passed down in our lineage.

Uncertainty Club our online magazine of Zen & the Arts

Become a Patron!

For any questions or navigating the website or greater experience of community in this time of covid sequestering, contact

Lotus Flower courtesy of M. Wilding

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Through your generosity, you help people find their own path into awakening, keep our doors open to everyone regardless of means, support our teachers, and help our systems run smoothly.

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The PZI Scholarship Fund

Your contributions to this fund go directly to help PZI offer generous scholarships for attendance at PZI Zen Online 1-day & 2-day retreats, and at our three annual 4-day sesshins in the PZI Digital Temple. There is no replacement for this generosity.

PZI Scholarship Fund