By Rachel Boughton, Roshi

Meditation likes companionship. The KALPA library is a way of supporting people in the project of meditation and awakening. You get to have a Zen teacher in your pocket, a way of seeing things differently, of noticing how something difficult or tedious or confusing may be all right just as it is, and may be more full of light or humor or warmth than you’d really noticed before. In old Zen stories that kind of teaching was called a “turning word”, when somebody said something and a door opened. This is a library full of turning words.


John Tarrant has been writing and giving talks about Zen and koans for over 35 years and his students and successors at Pacific Zen Institute also have a body of work here. There are audio recordings of talks going back decades and videos and writing and art and music spanning a quarter century. You can curl up with your favorite electronic device and remember the way the world can come to meet you, that your own life is a thing of wonder, just as it is.

Koan work is traditionally an esoteric practice not discussed outside of the meditation halls or meetings with teachers. Pacific Zen Institute believes koans have something special to offer anyone, and has made the secrets of this tradition accessible to all, especially Westerners. Interweaving psychology, art, poetry and music with koans and the traditional teachings of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, PZI is interested in transforming the hearts and minds of the those who seek the Way, to help them engage more fully with their lives and to experience more freedom and maneuverability with things as they are.

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