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Thread: Ox Herding

  1. #1

    Ox Herding

    What do you all think of the series of Ox Herding pictures.

    Gassho

    Klb

    Sat today

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Benbow View Post
    What do you all think of the series of Ox Herding pictures.

    Gassho

    Klb

    Sat today

    I'm sorry, I don't understand the reference. What are Ox Herding pictures? Please explain? Thank you.

    gassho
    kim
    st
    no destination, no goal

  3. #3
    They are a bunch of bull.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.



    Kim, here is a reference

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/ten-oxherding-pictures/



    I am pretty sure that in the long past Taigu did a series of talks about them.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  4. #4

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Thank you for the references and bull-humor, Shinshi.

    This is fascinating. I never heard of it, but now I want to learn more about it.

    Also didn't realize there were archives of Rev Taigu's talks. TreeLeaf has such a huge library .... wow.

    Gassho2
    Kim
    St

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    no destination, no goal

  7. #7
    Hi,

    In the Rinzai tradition, sometimes these pictures are taken as a series of progressive steps that one must pass through toward enlightenment at the end. The series was actually depicted a few different ways through history, one way starting with the boy first getting a hint of the bull (perhaps his wild mind that is yet to be tamed), then using a rope to break it, then letting the rope go, then proceeding to the boy and the bull becoming a harmonious one, the darkness of the bull gradually lightening into translucence then vanishing, then ending in emptiness in which both boy and bull vanish.



    In another series, the empty circle leads to re-emergence back to the world, and the series closes with a "return to the marketplace" and ordinary life in the dusty, hustle and bustle world ...




    However, I would say that most Soto folks don't look at this as a series of steps. It is more like an ongoing dance, back and forth each day and moment. One might see these as the dance in which the ordinary, separate self filled with its demands, judgments, fears and hopes, sense of individuality discovers the wholeness of emptiness in which the separate self flows unbroken, free of separation, friction, lack, anything more to demand. Sometimes the separate self boy is dominant, sometimes the wild bull mind is controlled and all is harmonious, sometimes all separation vanishes thoroughly ... in various mixes. It is not a series of progressive steps to a final enlightened end, but a living ride through changing scenery that is ever all these aspects appearing and vanishing, vanishing and appearing (this is Master Dogen's vision of continuing "Practice-Enlightenment" in our every thought, word and act).

    Just like our Shikantaza Zazen, perhaps some days a bit more this way and some days a bit more that. However, you may notice that the "circle" of emptiness is present in all the pictures of the second series, right from the start. The moon never stops shining, seen or unseen, day or night, on clear days or on cloudy days when hidden from sight. I do prefer the set which includes the return to the "marketplace" of the dusty world as emerging from emptiness, rather than the series that just ends at emptiness. However, really, these pictures have no start, finish or end. Nor would I say that, for Soto folks, that there is a particular order of appearance.

    So, I don't think that the message of the images is so mysterious.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-10-2019 at 01:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Taigu's series is wonderful.

    A poet named John Balcom did a nice series of translations/interpretations of the poems accompanying the second set (with the marketplace as the 10th picture):

    ==========

    Translated by John Balcom
    In: After Many Autumns: A Collection of Chinese Buddhist Literature
    edited by John Gill, Susan Tidwell, Buddha's Light Publishing, 2011


    MASTER KUOAN SHIYUAN

    Master Kuoan Shiyuan was a twelfth century monastic most popularly known for his work “Poems on the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures.” The images, each accompanied by a short poem, depict ... spiritual development by using an ox as an extended metaphor for the practitioner's mastery of the mind.....

    [Jundo Note: Perhaps the poems have more of that progressive Rinzai feel, as the author was a Rinzai master]


    I. Searching for the Ox

    Hurriedly parting the brush searching for it
    Water wide, mountains far away, road long;
    Tired and exhausted, still it eludes me.
    The chirr of evening cicadas in the maple trees is all that is heard.


    II. Spotting the Ox's Tracks

    Its tracks can be seen under the trees along the river,
    Parting the brush, do you see it?
    Even in such a remote place deep in the mountains,
    How can the vast sky hide its nose?


    III. Seeing the Ox

    An oriole calls from a green bough—
    Warm sun, gentle breeze, willow-lined river;
    No place left to hide
    Its head and horns, there, real to life.


    IV. Capturing the Ox

    With all my effort, I take hold of it;
    Strong and stubborn, it is hard to control.
    One minute it is on the high plateau,
    The next in a place deep among the clouds.


    V. Herding the Ox

    Never be without whip and tether
    Or it might stray in the world.
    Herded properly it will become tame,
    Untethered it will follow unforced.


    VI. Riding the Ox Home

    Riding the ox, meandering homeward;
    Seeing off the evening clouds, playing a flute,
    Clapping and singing so happily—
    Knowing well, why speak of it?


    VII. Ox Forgotten, the Man Remains

    Having ridden home on the ox
    Both man and ox are free.
    Though the sun is high, still the man seems to dream;
    Whip and tether lie unused in his thatched hut.


    VIII. Man and Ox Both Forgotten

    Whip and tether, man and ox all empty;
    The vast blue sky difficult to fathom.
    How can a snowflake survive inside a fiery stove?
    Now I join the enlightened ones of the past.


    IX. Returning to the Source and Origin

    It is a struggle to return to the source and origin,
    Nothing surpasses this. Without sight or sound,
    Unable to see the tree from the woods;
    The water vast, the flowers red because it is so.


    X. Entering the World, Hands Free

    Barechested and barefoot entering the world
    Covered with dust and ashes, smiling broadly;
    There's no need for magic spells
    To make the barren branch bloom.
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-10-2019 at 01:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    Thank you, Jundo. Our lives could be mirroring any of the ox herding pictures, at any time, back and forth, out of order, backwards, and more than one at a time.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  11. #11
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho2
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    no destination, no goal

  12. #12
    The Paul Reps book “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones” was one of the very first books on Zen I purchased. It is much worn. He has a chapter on the Ox Herding iconographs (the circled version Jundo posted above). I’ve always found them very intriguing. I understand that they represent a sense of progression. I also realize that one shouldn’t get hung up trying to identify with any particular picture. As Geika says, our practice may mirror any picture at any time.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    The Paul Reps book “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones” was one of the very first books on Zen I purchased. It is much worn. He has a chapter on the Ox Herding iconographs (the circled version Jundo posted above). I’ve always found them very intriguing. I understand that they represent a sense of progression.
    Paul Reps would also be a more Rinzai interpretation back then in the 1950's with DT Suzuki and such.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Fell into D.T. Suzuki/Dumoulin/Kapleau/Snyder/Reps at an early age. The Ox Herding Pictures were almost the center of one's imaginings of that time. Can't say they didn't do some good (otherwise would be disparaging the Sangha, perhaps?) but always wondered about the Dogen chapter in Dumoulin.

    Gradually became aware of Soto through Coevolution Quarterly, because Gregory Bateson, Robert Pirsig, Paul Hawken et al. Was going to look into San Francisco Zen Center when all heck seemed to break loose down there; backed away for decades. Lesson: if someone falls off the left side of the horse, there is no need to deliberately fall of the right side of the horse (paraphrase of C.S. Lewis in another context). As Paul Reps said, "Drink a bowl of tea and stop the war."

    So: it's been said that "Dukkha" is an old Aryan word for "thumping cart wheel"; the cart jounces along the track badly because the axle is not centered.

    Sit; centering.

    But also, could we not use the image of a STUCK wheel, dragging along in the cart track? Again the axle is endangered. If one perseverates on the fourth picture, one's wheel will be stuck, just as one might stick upon a resentment, an anger, a greed, a delusion, a fearful anticipation of a future event. So it is as Jundo says, as Geika says, as Tairin says, as many say here, it is all the pictures all the time, do not get stuck, loosen that grip, unstick body and mind. Ah.

    Tea this morning. There are golden-crowned sparrows awakening.

    gassho
    doyu sat today.
    特別な人ではない

  15. #15
    In John Daido's book "the eight gates of Zen" ( which was my first Zen book) he uses the of hearding pictures kind of the way martial arts use belts. Where someone who has just entered is on picture one and someone who is about almost ready to receive dhrama transmission is on picture 8

    Gassho

    Seiryu

    St

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    In John Daido's book "the eight gates of Zen" ( which was my first Zen book) he uses the of hearding pictures kind of the way martial arts use belts. Where someone who has just entered is on picture one and someone who is about almost ready to receive dhrama transmission is on picture 8

    Gassho

    Seiryu

    St

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Yes, he is from the Sanbokyodan, Harada-Yasutani Lineage through Maezumi Roshi, and mixed Rinzai-Soto way that focuses on Koan Introspection and Kensho experiences, and which places a heavy emphasis on such a progressive view. You can read more about Yasutani Roshi and that emphasis here:

    once born twice born zen (parts not 1 not 2)

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...8part-not-1%29

    and

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...8part-not-2%29

    I would say that, even with Karate belts, it is not a straight line, each day and each "opponent" (the ox) is different and mastery is a living thing, not just something to wrap around one's waist.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    I love those pictures. A few years ago I drew my own version of them. Iíve even printed up little zines of them and given them to friends.

    I listened to Taiguís wonderful talks while I made them amongst other interesting commentaries. For any story to be meaningful we have to see our own lives reflected back. I keep coming back to this series and see so many subtle facets of my own practice slowly unfolding within the.

    Here are the actual files.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/09dtddowy...JIkq3aQda?dl=0

    Gassho

    Sat Todat

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Redding California USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    I love those pictures. A few years ago I drew my own version of them. Iíve even printed up little zines of them and given them to friends.

    I listened to Taiguís wonderful talks while I made them amongst other interesting commentaries. For any story to be meaningful we have to see our own lives reflected back. I keep coming back to this series and see so many subtle facets of my own practice slowly unfolding within the.

    Here are the actual files.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/09dtddowy...JIkq3aQda?dl=0

    Gassho

    Sat Todat
    Thank you for sharing your work with us!

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  19. #19
    Here are the actual files.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/09dtddowy...JIkq3aQda?dl=0

    Gassho

    Sat Todat
    Beautiful art work, Byrne. Thank you for sharing

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat today
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    I love those pictures. A few years ago I drew my own version of them. I’ve even printed up little zines of them and given them to friends.

    I listened to Taigu’s wonderful talks while I made them amongst other interesting commentaries. For any story to be meaningful we have to see our own lives reflected back. I keep coming back to this series and see so many subtle facets of my own practice slowly unfolding within the.

    Here are the actual files.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/09dtddowy...JIkq3aQda?dl=0

    Gassho

    Sat Todat
    Wow Byrne, these are gorgeous. I'd love to see your work in our art circle forum!
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    I love those pictures. A few years ago I drew my own version of them. Iíve even printed up little zines of them and given them to friends.
    And again, I am having a hard time to resist, making some screen printing T-shirts...
    Thank you for posting!
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  22. #22
    Byrne, those are so cool!

    Gassho

    Nenka

    ST

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    And again, I am having a hard time to resist, making some screen printing T-shirts...
    Thank you for posting!
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today
    If anyone wants to use them for any purpose thatís fine with me.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  24. #24
    Those are awesome Byrne

    Gassho

    Rish
    -stlah

  25. #25

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TyZa View Post
    I cannot seem to get any video to load from these links. Browser issue maybe? Using Chrome. Very interested in Taigu's talk.

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    Sat2day
    They aren't links to the videos themselves. They are links to the archived pages where the videos were posted. I just checked and the pages load for me in Chrome.

    There are broken links on the pages but if you scroll down you should see the videos.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    They aren't links to the videos themselves. They are links to the archived pages where the videos were posted. I just checked and the pages load for me in Chrome.

    There are broken links on the pages but if you scroll down you should see the videos.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH

    Ah, I discovered I had a blocked script on the page. Once I turned that off, I can see the video. Thank you!

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    Sat2day

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