One of the innovations of the Pacific Zen Institute is the commitment to wake up out loud and together, to create space for rich and honest conversation about what it means to walk this path.

At our regular programs the meditation and talk may sometimes be offered by a community leader. These are PZI students who are committed to regular koan work with a teacher. Their insights and stories help us all learn and move towards awakening.

So, in addition to Rachel, John, Jon, and visiting PZI teachers, here are some of the other faces you may see at the front of the room:


Amy Elizabeth Robinson: 

Writer, poet, historian, mother, and Contributing Editor of PZI’s online magazine, Uncertainty Club. Amy teaches our Introduction to Meditation and Koans class every other month. You can learn more about her experience with PZI in this video.


Andrew Kerlow-Myers:

Therapist and counselor at Sonoma State University, father, joke-maker, friend. And a somewhat obsessive archivist of all things Zen.


Chris Gaffney:

Co-Director of the Dharma Buffet in Chico, CA, physics professor at CSU, writer, lateral thinker, and Contributing Editor of Uncertainty ClubYou can watch a 30-minute talk that Chris gave, on Zen, science, and magic, on our Vimeo channel.


Christopher Lods:

Musician, artist, sign-maker, coffee-pourer, Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center cantor, and long-time teacher of our monthly Introduction to Meditation and Koans class.



Corey Hitchcock

Visual and performance artist, leader of a koan small group in Grass Valley, Contributing Editor of Uncertainty Club, and PZI’s administrative queen.

Michael Hoffman

Sumi-e artist, sculptor, tea-brewer extraordinaire. Michael frequently leads Sunday morning meditation and Quiet Sittings, and sometimes teaches us brush painting, too.



Linji, an old Chinese teacher of Zen and koans, put it this way:

Followers of the Way, this lone brightness before my eyes now, this person plainly listening to me—this person is un­impeded at any point but penetrates everywhere, free to do as she pleases in the threefold world. No matter what environment he may encounter, with its peculiarities and differences, he cannot be swayed or pulled awry. In the space of an instant she makes her way into the Dharma-realm.

If he meets a buddha he preaches to the buddha, if she meets an ancestor she preaches to the ancestor, if he meets a saint he preaches to the saint, if she meets a hungry ghost she preaches to the hungry ghost. He goes everywhere, wander­ing through many lands, teaching living be­ings, yet never becomes separated from this single thought. Every place for her is clean and pure, her light pierces the ten directions, the ten thousand phenomena are a single thusness.



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