When you are a member of Pacific Zen Institute you have the opportunity to work with teachers one-on-one, in person or in some cases via email or phone. You may connect with a teacher at one of our centers, at a workshop or retreat, or through their online teachings. 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.

You can also visit our Teachers page for more information.


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@gmail.com.

David Weinstein, Roshi is available for private conversations about meditation practice on alternate Saturdays each month from 8:00-10:30am at the Rockridge Meditation Community. He is also available at other times for conversation and can be contacted at dweinstein@pacificzen.org.

Allison Atwill, Roshi is founder of Coral Moon Zen in Santa Barbara where she holds twice-monthly gatherings and works with individual students in person or through email. She also offers private interviews at PZI long retreats. Contact her for more information allisonkoanzen@gmail.com.

Rachel Boughton, Roshi, works with people by appointment. 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@gmail.com.

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. Jon also teaches at Portola Camp Zendo. For more information about working with Jon email him at jjoseph5450@gmail.com.

David Parks, Sensei served for 36 years as a UCC minister and now devotes himself to the teaching of Zen. His latest project is the founding of Open Door Zen. He is based in Kentucky, blogs on interfaith Zen, and guides koan small groups in both Kentucky and northern California, where he recently lived.  You may contact David at dparkram@gmail.com.

Jesse Cardin, Sensei is our newest koan teacher. He leads a PZI center 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@gmail.com.



“When my daughter died three years ago, I fought with grief and an inconsolable devastation. Koan study spoke to me but I didn’t know where it would take me. I trusted our teachers and came to value my time at retreat and in the interview room more than any work I had ever done in a therapist’s office. Things started changing first in my heart. I began to feel gratitude for my daughter’s life, which was so tough. And, over time, I realized that many of my cases started settling more quickly—and with less effort. My life wouldn’t be the same without PZI and our shared practices.”

—Melinda, Civil Rights Attorney & PZI retreat timekeeper, age 68

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