Meditation, Discovery, Freedom

San Mateo Zen Community, an affiliate of the Pacific Zen Institute, is a welcoming group of people who have joined together as a community to practice Koan Zen. 

Koans are not merely old stories. They are actual gates through which we can walk into a world that knows no distinction between self and other, moon and stars, holy and profane. It is a world of complete freedom.

We enter a path that is at once both fresh and ancient, both impermanent and enduring—a path of exploration, discovery and freedom. In practice, we learn that the world of freedom is our world.

Please join us on this path of discovery. 

Jon Joseph, a Zen Roshi in the Pacific Zen lineage and practice leader of San Mateo Zen, began sitting Zen over fifty years ago with a group of high school friends, led by their Spanish teacher, Robert King.

Jon then took his practice to the logging camps and fishing villages of Alaska and to the redwoods of California’s north coast. After college, he traveled to Kamakura, Japan, where he studied for eight years with Yamada Koun Roshi at the Sanun Zendo. In the late 1980s, returning to San Francisco and New York as a technology financial analyst, Jon took up koan practice with John Tarrant Roshi, who founded Pacific Zen Institute over thirty years ago to pioneer a path for personal transformation. 

Tarrant, a successor to Yamada through Robert Aitken Roshi, is known for his innovative approach to koan practice, often integrating exploration of these ‘public cases,’ as they are known, with theater, visual arts and music.