Description of Organization
The Pacific Zen Institute was first founded as the California Diamond Sangha in 1987 by John Tarrant Roshi in his home in Santa Rosa. The organization’s mandate was to address broader artistic and educational programs, in addition to the traditional Koan meditation. In 2010, the Open Mind model–a ritual-free small-group inquiry session directed by a moderator–was introduced. It began as an impulse to create a Zen meditation retreat that is native to American culture, and one that rests in a creative process. Participants sit together, share Koans, poetry, myth, conversation, and have time to write and walk on the beach and to find out what lives might be like without our usual stories.
In 2022, a grant in the amount of $13,500 was awarded to improve user access and user experience for KALPA (Koans and Liberation Project Archive). The demand for KALPA services began to outpace the ability to provide a high-quality user experience for members and guests. While the content was available, the delivery system required a technical upgrade including software upgrades to rebuild the library’s search functions. As a result of the pandemic and lockdown, the Pacific Zen Institute shifted from supporting local gatherings and several in-person retreats each year to a weekly “Online Temple” providing teachings and meditation. The Online Temple became a refuge for the isolated and continues as a vessel for connection, practice, and reflection for increasing numbers of students around the world, many of whom would not otherwise be able to access a meditation community. A wide range of online programs include a Master Class leadership development series, a Zen Luminaries speaker series, and a Bodhisattva Refuge class that has been converted to a self-guided course. The online program records hundreds of audio and video presentations, which are posted to the KALPA library.
In 2018, a grant in the amount of $15,000 was awarded to help support Pacific Zen’s KALPA (Koans and Liberation Project Archive), which hopes to become one of the largest publicly-accessible video, audio and written records of discussions of Zen Koans in the world.