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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


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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Tracing the Tracks of Dragons, A Thursday Koan Series: Shitou’s Dream – On the Back of a Turtle with David Parks

May 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Free – $10


Bearing Witness from Shitou to Dongshan, Yunmen, & Fayan

For two months we’ve traced Mazu’s lineage to descendents Linji and Zhaozhou, making stops to visit with Baizhang, Nanquan and others. This week we look to Shitou’s lineage and descendants.

The mysterious source of the bright is clear and unstained;
branches of light stream from that dark.

Trying to control things is only delusion,
but hanging onto the absolute isn’t enlightenment, either.

We and everything we perceive
are interwoven and not interwoven,
and this interweaving continues on and on,
while each thing stands in its own place.

—Shitou Xiqian, Taking Part in the Gathering (Sandokai)

Full text of Taking Part in the Gathering 

All present-day Zen lineages emerged from Tang dynasty contemporaries Mazu and Shitou. Students such as Layman Pang traveled between the two, ferrying comments between one teacher and the other. Mazu once remarked that Shitou’s path (literally, stone path) was “slippery.” It is said they never met one another.

Little is known of Shitou’s early life. It is said he left home at age twelve to be with Huineng, the sixth ancestor. When Shitou was thirteen, Huineng died (you can see a replica of his mummified body at his Temple in China), and Shitou accepted Huineng’s successor, Qingyuan Xingsi, as his teacher.

Much later, Shitou was reading, and as one will while reading, he fell asleep and had a dream. In the dream, he was with Huineng, traveling across a great ocean on the back of a giant sea turtle. When he awoke, it is said that Shitou wrote the Sandokai (known at PZI as Taking Part in the Gathering), a treatise on individual and particular lives acting out of the vastness, out of our not-knowing.

From Shitou’s lineage came three of the five Schools—or Houses—of Chan: Dongshan’s, Yunmen’s and Fayan’s. In the coming weeks we will visit ancestors Dongshan, Yunmen and Fayan.

Our upcoming 2022 PZI Summer Retreat, June 13th to 20th, finds its title and theme, “Taking Part in the Gathering,” from Shitou’s writing. Register for PZI Summer Retreat here.

About the Series

We dance with dragons, witnessing the moment, its rising and falling. We move with the rhythms of life: the autumnal stripping away, the descent into winter’s barren dark, and as it is now, the coming forth of spring—life-blessing rain, the rise of bud and bloom, the advent of color, the humming of insects, the call of geese coming home, and a spring time of the heart, here in my rising thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes easy, sometimes difficult, it is all dragon, never settled, always in flux. Each moment rising new, one and then the next. Flux. No fixed perspective. And we bear witness.

Becoming familiar with these streams of transmission our eyebrows entangle with those of our Chan forebears, as we find our own awakening in and alongside theirs.

I hope you will join me as we trace the tracks of dragons.

David Parks Roshi


Come join us Thursday at 4pm PDT, for koan meditation, a dharma talk, and conversation. Register to participate. All are welcome.

—David Parks Roshi, Director of Bluegrass Zen


May 19
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Free – $10
Event Category:


PZI Online Temple


David Parks Roshi
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