Working With A Teacher

When you are a member of Pacific Zen Institute you have the opportunity to work with teachers one-on-one. You may connect with a teacher at one of our regular programs, at a retreat, or through reading articles, blogs or seeing online videos of their talks. Individual meetings are one of the ways to go deeper into your meditation and koan practice. You can contact the teacher and find out if they are available and would like to work with you as a student.

Working with a teacher is part of an active engagement with meditation and koans and with your own life and transformation. You meditate daily and you let the koan into every part of your life. It is also beneficial to support your teacher financially, if you are able, through dana contributions, as well as to be a part of the PZI community by volunteering. You can talk to your teacher about ways to help out and be connected to the community, even if you live far away. 

Here is a partial list of PZI Teachers and how to work with them.

For more information about teachers go here.

John Tarrant, Roshi is available for private interviews at PZI long retreats. He usually supervises teachers and very occasionally takes new students to work with in person, by phone or by email. To enquire about his availability email johntarrant -(at)-

David Weinstein, Roshi gives private interviews at long retreats. He also is available on a first come first served basis on the first Saturday of every month from 8-10:30am at the Rockridge Meditation Community and on the first Wednesday of each month in San Francisco at Wind-in-Grass, starting at 6:30pm. He occasionally takes new students. Email him at dw.weinstein-(at)

Allison Atwill, Roshi leads koan salons in Santa Barbara and sees individual students occasionally there. Email her for more information allisonkoanzen-(at)

Rachel Boughton, Roshi, works with people by appointment at the  Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center on Thursdays. She is also available to work with people by email or on the phone. This includes individual introduction to meditation instruction, if needed. To contact her or to make an appointment email rachelcboughton-(at)

Jon Joseph, Roshi, holds monthly half day meditation retreats at the Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center on the 4th Sunday of every month. The retreat goes from 9am to 2pm, and he talks to people individually during the retreat. For more information about working with Jon email him at jjoseph5450-(at) or go to his website. He teaches in San Mateo at the Portola Camp Zendo.

David Parks-Ramage, Sensei is a UCC minister. He trained in spiritual direction at the Shalem Institute, later discovering and becoming immersed in  koans at PZI.. With his experience in two traditions, he now teaches in both. His latest project is the founding of Open Door: Interfaith Zen, a program offered by his church, First Congregational UCC in Santa Rosa, CA.  You may contact David at dparkram-(at)

Jesse Cardin, Sensei, is our newest koan teacher. He has a group in San Antonio, Texas and also writes a blog called “It’s Alive!” on koans and meditation. He works with people in person (if they live in San Antonio) or on email, skype, or by phone. Old fashioned letters could also probably be arranged. Contact him by email at itsalivezen-(at)