Zen, the Japanese Mahanyana Buddhist meditation school known as Dhyana in its original Indian incarnation and Chan in its Chinese import, has had enormous impact on Japanese culture, where its principles of simplicity, profundity and spontaneity are seen in everything from haiku and origami to martial arts that emphasize grace and movement over brutal contest and of course, the elaborate Japanese tea ceremony. But the essence of Zen can best be experienced through a series of fifteenth-century paintings and accompanying texts known as the “Ten Ox-Herding Pictures” where a farmer sets out to capture, tame and ride home an ox, an absurd tale on a literal level which is an inducement to enlightenment, which Zennists believe can only come about when one transcends all reason. Blair Thomas and Company are staging this absurd tale full of double meanings and labyrinths of reality and non-reality with full-sized puppets, stilt walkers and a live percussion and drum score by Michael Zerang. (Dennis Polkow)
Fri 8pm, Zen Buddhist Temple, 1710 W. Cornelia, (773)722-3248. Free.