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The 10 Ox Herding Pictures

Prose and comments from
"Zen Flesh, Zen Bones"
~ Paul Reps ~
Illustrations by -ts-


The enlightenment for which Zen aims, for which Zen exists, comes of itself.
As consciousness, one moment it does not exist, the next it does.
But physical man walks in the element of time even as he walks in mud ...
dragging his feet and his true nature.
So even Zen must compromise and recognize progressive steps of awareness
leading closer to the ever instant of enlightenment.
In the twelfth century the Chinese master Kakuan drew the pictures of the
ten bulls, basing them on the earlier Taoist bulls, and wrote the comments
in prose and verse. His vision was pure Zen ... going deeper than earlier
versions, which had ended with the nothingness of the eighth picture.
The bull is the eternal principle of life ... truth in action.
The ten bulls represent steps in the realization of one's true nature.
This sequence is as potent today as it was when Kakuan developed it from
earlier works and made his paintings of the bull.
An understanding of the creative principle transcends any time or place.
The 10 Bulls is more than poetry, more than pictures. It is a revelation
of spirtual unfoldment paralleled in every bible of human experience.
May the reader, like the Chinese patriarch, discover the footprints of his
potential self and, carrying the staff of his purpose and the wine jug of
his true desire, frequent the market place and there enlighten others.



Click on the following links for commentary and illustrations.


Introduction ... 1. Seeking The Ox ... 2. Finding The Tracks ... 3. First Glimpse Of The Ox
4. Catching The Ox ... 5. Taming The Ox ... 6. Riding The Ox Home ... 7. Ox Forgotten, Self Alone
8. Both Ox & Self Forgotten ... 9. Return To The Source ... 10. Entering The Marketplace

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