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 next on December 4
Year’s End Open Temple: November 7–December 30
NEW DATE: Buddha’s Life in Your Life with John Tarrant & Tess Beasley on December 11
SAVE THE DATES: Winter Sesshin, January 31–February 5
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WEDNESDAY ZEN: What Body? What Mind? with David Weinstein
September 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree – $10
Nanquan said, “All the buddhas do not know it, but cats and oxen know it.”
—Book of Serenity #69
We adopted two cats a week ago. For six weeks prior to that, we had been taking care of our friends’ cat while they visited Japan. We had been doing this for our friends for a number of years, but, due to the pandemic, not in these last few years. Our last cat died a year and half ago, and having a furry friend in the house, even if only for six weeks, was a joy and the occasion of our starting to think about sharing our home with a cat again, as well as the occasion of this koan paying me a visit.
The Chinese character translated in the koan as “cats,” is variously translated as foxes, badgers, or raccoon-dogs. I don’t think it really matters so much which animal we’re talking about—what animals know is true of all animals.
I suppose it could be called anthropomorphizing, the way I assume animals think the same way I do. It’s hard not to think that way as I watch a jay dealing with a pile of peanuts. Picking up each peanut and dropping it, and picking up another one and dropping it, until all the peanuts have been picked up and dropped; none of them found satisfactory.
I see myself doing that—picking and choosing, not being satisfied. Then the jay starts all over again, picking them all up and dropping them again, until finally it takes the very first peanut that it picked up, and flies off: I do that, too.
As for the squirrels. . . I’ll save them for Wednesday evening. Not to mention my current cultivation of a relationship with a raven, or my past working with a chimpanzee who communicated using American Sign Language.
For me, this koan speaks to the dangers of knowing. If I’m caught up in the world of “Buddhas,” I can’t know what reality is— I am looking at it through the lens of my ideas and concepts. The time I spend with my animal friends doesn’t feel like it’s distorted by anything. My experience settles into something as simple as just having a body and just being here.
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