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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. All event times are Pacific Time. Questions? Contact Karin Pfluger


June 23 Sunday Zen: with John Tarrant & Friends

July 1 Zen Luminaries: Poet & Translator David Hinton in Conversation with Jon Joseph & Friends

June 10–16 Great Summer Sesshin: Meeting the Inconceivable with John Tarrant & PZI Teachers


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THURSDAY ZEN with David Parks: Searching for the Sacred Bones

May 30 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Free – $10


Daowu and Jianyuan Make a Condolence Call

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.

After Daowu died, Jianyuan went to Shishuang and told him the story.
Shishuang said, “I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.”
Jianyuan asked, “Why won’t you say?”
Shishuang said, “I’m not saying! I’m not saying!”
At these words, Jianyuan had an insight.

One day Jianyuan took a spade and went into the teaching hall.
From the east he crossed to the west, and from the west he crossed to the east.
“What are you doing?” asked Shishuang.
Jianyuan said, “I’m searching for our old teacher’s sacred bones.”
Shishuang said, “Floods reach the horizon, whitecaps drown the sky. What sort of teacher’s sacred bones are you looking for?”

(Xuedou comments: “Blue heavens, Blue heavens!”)

Jianyuan said, “This is really good; it makes me strong.”

Later, Fu of Taiyuan said, “Our teacher’s sacred bones are still here.”

Today is a beautiful day in Central Kentucky. The temperature is about 75 degrees and the humidity has lifted. Days like this will capture you. Out walking the dogs through the fields you are drawn further with each step. As you walk by the wild blackberries, you notice small hard green berries on the branch, promising juicy goodness in a few weeks. Your hike takes you up a hill to the top of the property. You hear turkeys in the woods and look up at the hawks riding thermals.

Days like this will capture you with their beauty, but more just by their feel. Pausing for a moment: It is good to be alive. Just as you find yourself awash in the day, the small dog at your feet shoves her nose in a tuft of grass and pulls out a baby rabbit. She shakes it and snaps its neck. You recall the two crows and the frog, old Dongshan’s, “For your benefit.” It is good to be alive and this is part of it.

A day will capture you. A koan will capture you, will insert a pause. That is the way it was for me this week with Daowu and Jianyun’s “Condolence Call.” I am looking for koans with gardening implements and stumbled upon this one, complete with a shovel, and a shovel ritual: the student in the dharma hall carries the shovel west to east, east to west. Good enough on the tools, but for this student the desperation of his life and practice is decades long.

As I read through the koan it takes me back to my early days with PZI , encountering this koan in real life. I was on retreat in the redwoods of Sonoma County when I received a call informing me that a parishioner had died. I got into my car for the trip into town. Arriving a the home, the dialogue was internal, “Alive ordeaad?” I can’t say, I can’t say. Even now, I cannot.

—David Parks

David Parks Roshi


COME JOIN US on Thursdays for koan meditation, dharma talk and conversation. All are welcome. Register to participate.

David Parks Roshi, Director of Bluegrass Zen


May 30
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Free – $10
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David Parks Roshi
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