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 [email protected].
F E A T U R E D
Sunday Zen: John Tarrant on February 12th
Wait List Only: Spring Open Mind Retreat, March 16–19
Zen Luminaries: Lewis Hyde in conversation with Jon Joseph on February 20
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MONDAY ZEN: A Visit From Isis with Jon Joseph
December 5, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pmFree – $10
Join us Monday night to talk about moving across the frontier between dreaming to waking
Daowu and Jianyuan went to a house to offer condolences. Jianyuan struck the coffin with his hand and asked, “Alive or dead?”
Daowu said, “I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.”
Jianyuan asked, “Why won’t you say?”
Daowu said, “I’m not saying! I’m not saying!”
On the way home, Jianyuan stopped in the middle of the road and demanded, “Tell me right now, Teacher. If you don’t say, I’m going to hit you and leave.”
Daowu said, “You can hit me, but even if you do, I still won’t say.”
Jianyuan hit him.
—Blue Cliff Record Case 55
It’s only been a few years since I began following my dreams as part of my meditation practice. I naturally dream a lot. I love to sleep, I love to dream. And in inviting my dream world into my practice world, I’ve been looking to them less for self-knowledge than for affirmation of the deep undercurrents of my psyche, which flows (for all of us) within the vast river we call the Way.
A few weeks ago I joined a small group of zendo leaders, where we opened the meeting by going around the room sharing experiences. One person, across the room from me, shared a dream-story about seeing animal tracks in the mud.
That night she appeared in my dream, selling funeral packages. Two were on offer: One was plain and simple, a casket with no adornment. The other was complex, difficult, and beautiful. The two packages were as different as common linen is to gold-threaded brocade. As part of the expensive package, the woman held up a finely crafted box made of dark-grained wood, with a deep lacquer finish and tight-fitting lid.
I shared the dream with a group of friends, and their questions helped me unpack it some. What was in the box? Without hesitation, I answered: “My guts, my internal organs.” My heart, intestines, liver. Strangely, I said, “But that is normal in preparing a body for burial.” “No,” they pointed out, “it is not normal in these times.”
However, ritual removal of human organs after death was part of the mummification process commonly used in ancient Egypt, particularly for pharaohs.
Can you speak from the woman’s point of view? What did the box have to say? It was a fascinating inquiry, but afterward, I didn’t really feel I had learned anything new about my life.
Lying in bed that night, I went over the dream again and again in my mind. Half asleep, the dream continued to evolve, and I could now see the woman clothed in ancient Egyptian dress. My thought was, “Oh, this is my Egyptian wife,” and then she morphed into what I took to be an Egyptian goddess. The name that came to me was “Isis.”
Several days previously, I had seen a reference to the cult of Isis, existing around the time of Jesus, that may have influenced early Christianity. Not knowing if Isis was a man or woman, I looked her up in Wikipedia. Along with her brother and husband, Osiris, Isis was the most widely worshiped Egyptian god in the first millennium BC. She was believed to guide and heal the dead in the afterlife, just as she had revived her slain husband, Osiris. She also brought healing spells to help ordinary people. Isis was the goddess of pharaohs, and her revival of Osiris in the afterworld was considered the motivating source for Egyptian mummification.
Tapping through dreams into the cosmos of the Egyptian afterlife feels brocade-like to me: at once distant and ancient, richly intimate and immediate. Moving across the frontier, from the country of dreams to waking and back again, I don’t think we have to choose either “alive” or “dead.” That is asking too much.
Join us for a koan, meditation, dharma talk and conversation.
Register to participate. All are welcome.