PZI Events Calendar
W E L C O M E to the PZI Events Calendar! Here you will find all upcoming events and registration links for PZI Zen Online retreats, sesshins, and weekly meditations & talks. Search by individual event, day, or month. Save to your Google Calendar or iCal Calendar. No experience required to participate. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
F E A T U R E D
Sundays with John Tarrant: Next on May 22nd
Weekly Meditation & Talks: Monday – Thursday, join us
Alternating Tuesdays: PZI Talk LIVE! with Gaffney & Hitchcock next on May 24th
Looking Ahead: Santa Sabina Summer Sesshin in June
Next: David Parks’ Dragon Series in May, Morten Schlutter on May 23rd
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A Hidden Influence – The Iron Ox Endures: Wednesday with David Weinstein
May 18 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree – $10
When called upon to make a judgment, you must judge.
Otherwise, you invite disorder.
—The Blue Cliff Record, Case 38
According to a footnote for this koan, the iron ox referred to was placed in the Yellow River to regulate its flow and minimize damage from flooding. I had never understood how that worked, so when I ran into an alternate possibility for imagining this koan, I was interested.
The image of something hidden and out of sight affecting what happens resonated with me, as does the image of a 70-ton iron ox attached to the river’s bottom by six 24-inch-diameter 30-foot-long pillars.
The pillars were attached at an angle in such a way to prevent the ox from being pulled by cables that were wrapped around it. Those cables supported the earliest and longest floating bridge on the Yellow River, estimated to have been built around 724 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty.
With the construction of a dam downstream and the river having changed its course, the original eight oxen that anchored the bridge became buried under several meters of silt, and were not discovered until 1988. Originally, there were four oxen anchoring a cable on each bank of the river. 500 years later, the bridge was destroyed during a war, but the oxen remained on the riverbanks to serve another purpose: as a deterrent to flooding.
The I Ching says:
The ox is like kun,
kun is the earth,
and the earth is better than water.
I have come to better understand the footnote. But that in no way takes anything away from my relationship with the koan, or my appreciation of the unseen affecting the seen. It did open up another appreciation of the koan in regards to making a judgment, and in the process a couple of other koans came along:
When making a decision, it can be like “saying something without moving lips or tongue,” and therefore “without picking or choosing” it feels like being a 70-ton iron ox: solid, even with the most difficult decision.
Join us for a koan, meditation, dharma talk, & conversation. All are welcome. Register to participate.