The Ten Oxherding Pictures which relate back to a Zen master in the Sung dynasty China (1126-1279 AD), have spiritual roots in the very early Zen Buddhist texts ~ 560 BCE . They provide useful imagery of one of our illusions – our mind cannot be controlled- must and can be negated before a seeker of truth like us can experience enlightenment. The ox symbolize our elusive mind and the herder symbolizes the seeker that is us. A graphic designer, Hor Tuck Loon has given these pictures a contemporary treatment. This is a wonderful “comic book” describing very well what meditation is all about: taming the ox i.e. our thoughts & mind. The 10 pictures describe the step wise process before achieving the control of our Mind in the quest for Enlightenment ( Awakening ).
1: The Self is faintly intuited, like sensing the presence of the Ox, and the journey begins.
2: Like finding a few hoof marks of the Ox, traces of the teachings of the path are found.
3: The Ox is glimpsed, as one comes to see that the Self is beyond the personality self.
4: The Ox has been caught hold of, and the pursuit of the Self is now firmly practiced
5: The Ox is tamed, as the mind is tamed, while staying focused on finding the Self.
6: The Ox is ridden, as the mind is mastered, becoming a friend on the inner journey to True Self.
7: The Ox is left aside, as the Seeker rests in the stillness of the inner chamber.
8 : Both Ox and Seeker are forgotten, allowing the individual self to rest in the True Self.
9: Ox and Seeker merge into emptiness, wholeness, beingness; the absolute Truth.
10: The Realized returns to the marketplace of life, living in the world, yet in the Self