Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox-Ten Bulls - Wikipedia

The calf, bull or ox is one of the earliest similes for meditation practice. The well-known ten ox-herding pictures emerged in China in the 12th century. Seikyo 11th century , [web 4] Tzu-te Hui Jp. Kaku-an 12th century. In Ching-chu's version only five pictures are being used, and the ox's colour changes from dark to white, representing the gradual development of the practitioner, ending in the disappearance of the practitioner.

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Both teachers and students of Zen must take this to heart. Tricycle is a nonprofit that depends on reader support. But this fiery nature is hard to control. Riding the Ox Back Home Sitting astride the ox, the noble person happily returns. But you must never foster this notion in your head or even take pride in this fact. And like a fish put in to the water to swim, I was able to live without any hindrance.

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Thus, the study of the Ten Ox-herding Pictures are very useful for those who are actually striving to make clear the true self in Zen through the actual sitting with aching legs. I want you all to really grasp how important it is to have had the experience once of thoroughly forgetting the self. This is the innate weakness of human nature. The images Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox reprinted here with permission of the Monastery. And that self is happy, gazing at the ox the true self and thinking how gentle it has become. This can be interpreted Fm freak kiss show site mean that the separation of practice and realization has been overcome, as has the separation of Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox reality and the ultimate reality. Even if you want to return, you no longer know the way to go back; rather, illustrarions go Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox on a side road which leads in a direction farther and farther away from the true self. You simply go where you want, do what you want, and live as you like. Being well-trained, he becomes naturally gentle. This proposition "Being is non-being" is a crude fact, not a temporary illusion or a dream. New York: Harper and Row, Dwelling in one's true abode, illustrationa with that without -- The river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red. He has not yet found a path to follow and has not yet started to practice.

The ten oxherding pictures describe the, Zen training path to enlightenment, Folk images are accompanied by poems and commentaries.

  • The photos are copyrighted.
  • The story of the ox and oxherd, separate at first, but united in the realization of the inner unity of all existence, is an old Taoist story, updated and modified by a twelfth century Chinese Buddhist master to explain the path to enlightenment.

The photos are copyrighted. Photos published on these web pages are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. The "Ox-Herding Pictures" or "Bull-Herder Series" illustrate the spiritual development of Zen students, from the moment they enter the Way until the completion of their training, when they become masters in their own right.

In the 18th Buddhist century 12th by western calendars , a Chinese Ch'an Zen master Japanese: Kukuan painted ten pictures illustrating the search for an ox, an allegory for the search of our true nature. These pictures and the comments on them, in prose and rhyme, have been repeatedly redone through the centuries; and, with "koans" widely employed, particularly by the Lin-chi Rinzai school.

Enlightenment, the realization of one's true nature in an instant satori is the objective of Buddhist practice. Since the victory of Hui Neng's southern school, all Chinese schools of Ch'an have accepted the doctrine of instantaneous enlightenment. The ox-herding pictures are an attempt to aid the progress toward enlightenment by exemplifying certain of these "steps".

Through their comments succeeding generations of Ch'an masters have assisted their disciples and demonstrated their understanding. It is with this intention that I have added my own. Although these pictures are often explained as illustrating the search for one's true nature, or the accomplishment of a perfect mastery of self, this is far from correct because neither theory can explain all ten pictures. Although one may think in terms of searching for his true nature, it would be like searching for your hat on your head, or your glasses on your nose, or to mount a donkey to go to search for the donkey.

Although it is clear that the ox is the symbol of our true Buddha-nature; the boy, ourselves in search of that nature; and the rope and the whip the means we by error believe necessary because we incorrectly believe we are separated from it. We fail to realize that the ox has never been lost!

The essential point is that one doesn't obtain enlightenment by pursuing it elsewhere, but by discovering it within oneself. We seek the ox, grasp it, tame it and finally the self which has always been seeking becomes completely one with the ox. But this also is forgotten so that we now simply carry on our ordinary lives.

This is the process described by the Pictures. They show concretely the progression of our practice and are very helpful for a self-examination of our own practice and as encouragement for further practice. His dates of birth and death as well as other information are unclear. To each of the ten pictures of the Ten Ox-herding Pictures Master Kakuan has first put a verse and at the end his disciple, Jion some say Kakuan himself, others say the friend of Kakuan is said to have put a general introduction and a brief introduction to each one of the verses.

In the Ten Ox-herding Pictures a little child and an ox are depicted. The ox is the essential self which we are seeking. The little child represents the self of the phenomenal world which wants very much to grasp the essential self - not through concepts and thoughts, but as it really is. This little child the self of the phenomenal world is, in fact, always seeking something. It wants money, status, and fame.

So, the self goes on seeking, now through this philosophy, now through that religion, and endeavors to grow and to make as much progress as possible.

There are some who are defeated by the struggle, become neurotic, and even go so far as suicide. For them the spirit of seeking something has operated only as a minus factor; the fact that they are still expending energy and continuing to seek something has not changed.

But why is it that men and women always seek something in this way? Besides, although human being are born this way, they cannot know the essence Buddha nature of their own perfection and limitless absoluteness. The Ten Ox-herding Pictures have concretely depicted the process in which the imperfect, limited, and relative self the little child awakens to the perfect, unlimited, and absolute essential self the ox , grasps it, tames it, forgets it, and completely incorporates it into the personality.

But we must stress that these pictures and verses are merely an indication of the way to practice and not an object for conceptual thought. Thus, the study of the Ten Ox-herding Pictures are very useful for those who are actually striving to make clear the true self in Zen through the actual sitting with aching legs. But for those who want only to learn the rationale of Zen I must warn that these pictures and words will be only "white elephants" of no use whatsoever.

After that I would like to appreciate each line of the verses composed by Master Kakuan himself. In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull. Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains, My strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull.

I only hear the locusts chirring through the forest at night. Comment: The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me. In the pasture of the world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull.

I only hear the locusts chirping through the forest at night. The beast has never gone astray, and what is the use of searching for him? The beast is lost, for the oxherd has himself been led out of the way through his deluding senses. His home is receding farther away from him, and byways and crossways are ever confused. Desire for gain and fear of loss burn like fire; ideas of right and wrong shoot up like a phalanx.

Alone in the wilderness, lost in the jungle, the boy is searching, searching! The swelling waters, the far-away mountains, and the unending path; Exhausted and in despair, he knows not where to go, He only hears the evening cicadas singing in the maple-woods.

With his horns fiercely projected in the air the beast snorts, Madly running over the mountain paths, farther and farther he goes astray! A dark cloud is spread across the entrance of the valley, And who knows how much of the fine fresh herb is trampled under his wild hoofs!

It is known as the "first stirring of the heart" [sho-hosshin] and is indeed a precious and beautiful movement. Although there are billions of people living on this earth, there are only very few who know that the essential self is completely perfect and absolutely limitless. Nor is it an exaggeration to say that there are hardly any who have realized this in fact and made it a part of themselves. How fortunate that we have encountered the authentic and traditional Buddha Way and taken the first step in its practice!

How beautiful and precious indeed! On this earth of ours the first to have realized that our essence is completely perfect and absolutely limitless was Shakyamuni Buddha. So, once you realize it, the completely perfect self ox does not go anywhere. Shakyamuni proclaimed that since we are endowed with it from the start there was no need to seek it out.

The saying that "all living beings are originally Buddhas" is an expression of this reality. But how is it with us really? No one has any idea of what way we are completely perfect or how we are absolutely limitless.

No matter what, we can only see ourselves as imperfect and insufficient, as relative beings that exist for the limited span of 50 or 80 years. This is because we turn our backs on pursuing the crucial question "What is the true self? Once we turn to this dust of delusive differentiation, we go from one thing to another pursuing delusions and becoming hopelessly lost in that infinite dust, until finally we have completely lost sight of our true self.

A common mistake into which those doing zazen fall is surely this. Therefore, no matter what is seen, no matter what is heard, no matter what comes to mind, not to pay attention to any of it but only become "Mu" itself [cf. But rather, thinking Mu is outside of themselves, people try to grasp it conceptually and go after whatever comes to mind, from one thing to the next, without knowing how to stop. Then, Mu their true self , which is what they should be seeking, goes off somewhere.

As a result, no matter how many years pass, they cannot grasp Mu. And so the familiar mountains and houses of your native place true self become distant, and you can no longer know the road over which you originally came.

Even if you want to return, you no longer know the way to go back; rather, you go off on a side road which leads in a direction farther and farther away from the true self. What is that side road, you may ask? It is the endlessly critical mind which arises like a sharp dagger, judging some things good and others bad from the criterion of your own profit-gain.

Not being satisfied with the material world and attempting to achieve a solid spiritual base, you have reached the level of "seeking the ox. Therefore, at the point of beginning zazen it is extremely important to choose an authentic master; at the same time you must never forget to always have a strict spirit of self-reflection when practicing the Way. You make the practice of Mu trying with all your might to overtake the ox by sweeping away the grass of delusive discrimination appearing continually.

The legs become painful and the knees ache. In the afternoon you become drowsy. At "kinhin" [i. You revive your spirit and once again challenge Mu. The waters are wide, the mountains far, and the path leads on without end.

No matter how far you go, the channel of the river keeps widening, and the mountain ranges continue far in the distance; you never reach a place where you can say, "Now it is enough. Can a person really solve the problems of life by just doing this? Thoughts get confused by the thousands and you go off on an unclear road. Sapped of strength, exhausted in spirits, knowing no longer where to search. Bodily strength is gone as well as mental energy. You don't know what to do.

How can I do it? However, here, at the lowest point, the point of the Great Death, you have reached the very important state that is called "being close to the treasure place. You only hear the sound of the evening cicadas chirping in the maple trees.

It is now evening. The cicadas in the maple trees are singing "miiiin, miiiin" in a frenzy. When you hear their cry you want to cry also. Along the riverbank under the trees, I discover footprints!

As the result of long years of practice, for a brief moment today, you have been able to grasp the ox. The sublimity of a world completely void is beyond verbal expression. There is no need for the miraculous power of the gods, For he touches, and lo! Loori, John Daido. It becomes buried and is unable to free itself. Koller, John.

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox

Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox.

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The calf, bull or ox is one of the earliest similes for meditation practice. The well-known ten ox-herding pictures emerged in China in the 12th century.

Seikyo 11th century , [web 4] Tzu-te Hui Jp. Kaku-an 12th century. In Ching-chu's version only five pictures are being used, and the ox's colour changes from dark to white, representing the gradual development of the practitioner, ending in the disappearance of the practitioner.

Jitoku [web 4] made a version with six pictures. Just like Ching-chu's version, the ox grows whiter along the way. In this version too the ox's colour changes from dark to white. Kaku-an Shi-en , who also wrote accompanying poems and introductory words attached to the pictures. In Search of the Bull In the pasture of the world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the Ox.

Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains, My strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the Ox. Discovery of the Footprints Along the riverbank under the trees, I discover footprints. Even under the fragrant grass, I see his prints. Deep in remote mountains they are found.

Perceiving the Bull I hear the song of the nightingale. The sun is warm, the wind is mild, willows are green along the shore - Here no Ox can hide! What artist can draw that massive head, those majestic horns? Catching the Bull I seize him with a terrific struggle. His great will and power are inexhaustible. He charges to the high plateau far above the cloud-mists, Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.

Taming the Bull The whip and rope are necessary, Else he might stray off down some dusty road. Being well-trained, he becomes naturally gentle.

Then, unfettered, he obeys his master. The voice of my flute intones through the evening. Measuring with hand-beats the pulsating harmony, I direct the endless rhythm. Whoever hears this melody will join me.

I am serene. The Ox too can rest. The dawn has come. In blissful repose, Within my thatched dwelling I have abandoned the whip and ropes. This heaven is so vast, no message can stain it. How may a snowflake exist in a raging fire. Here are the footprints of the Ancestors. Reaching the Source Too many steps have been taken returning to the root and the source. Better to have been blind and deaf from the beginning! Dwelling in one's true abode, unconcerned with and without - The river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red.

Return to Society Barefooted and naked of breast, I mingle with the people of the world. My clothes are ragged and dust-laden, and I am ever blissful. I use no magic to extend my life; Now, before me, the dead trees become alive. The ox-herding pictures had an immediate and extensive influence on the Chinese practice of Chan Buddhism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Buddhism illustrations of riding the ox