John Tarrant, Roshi, PhD, is director of the Pacific Zen Institute, which has centers in California, Arizona, and Canada. Senior teacher for Desert Lotus Zen Sangha in Phoenix, Arizona, he is author of Bring Me The Rhinoceros & Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life and The Light Inside the Dark, as well as the Zenosaurus Course In Koans online.
One of the foremost koan teachers in the United States, Tarrant is the general editor of Uncertainty Club, a new online magazine of Zen and the arts. He writes regularly for Lion’s Roar and publishes in poetry magazines.
John Tarrant is a Zen Roshi who developed new ways to teach people with no experience of Zen or those who have never even experienced meditation. He has a doctorate degree in psychology and for many years had a practice in Jungian psychoanalysis. He helped design and develop the pioneering Art of Medicine curriculum for the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, developed the leadership program for physicians and executives at Duke Integrative Medicine, and in addition designed a mind-body-arts curriculum for the large medical residency system at Duke Health.
A native of Australia, Tarrant first studied Buddhism in the early 1970s with visiting Tibetan lamas. He then discovered koans, stories sometimes given to Zen practitioners to hasten and refine insight and enlightenment. Later in the United States, he studied koans with Korean teacher Seung Sahn. He also studied with Robert Aitken in Hawaii for nine years and was Aitken’s first dharma heir.