Oxherding III – Seeing the Ox

Attributed to Shubun. Photo taken from Zen Ink Paintings by Barnet and Burto

Last time, I talked about how a person can see evidence of their inherent buddha nature, feeling in their heart something deep inside, something pure and correct. This feeling, we know in our hearts is true, yet we have no proof in our minds. So, we are of a divided being, our hearts say ‘truth’ yet our minds say ‘prove it!’

This is the foundation of faith. Faith is knowing something in our hearts, feeling its truth, yet we can not prove this truth. But this truth in our hearts, it is not fully clarified..we do not yet fully understand what it is we know to be true! This is why we can not yet have proof.

Our faith, our trust in our own heart, our own buddha-nature, drives us, supports us, and helps us on our search for the Ox. In the third picture of the Ten Oxherding Pictures, we come to ‘Seeing the Ox’.

Here, after a long journey in the darkest of wilderness, using our faith as our compass, we trace the residues left behind of our true nature… We have our gaze only on the tracks on the ground, and we reach a point where we pause and look close and the tracks are still warm from the hoofs of the Ox… we glance up and we see the rump of the mighty Ox as it disappears behind a giant boulder on our path ahead. We become frozen. Utter fascination. Utter joy. Utter reverence. Utter awe. Many many joyous and powerful emotions explode in our mind, with the most amazing Love surrounding them all.

We are in shock. All these feelings and emotions turn into thoughts in our brains. Oh, the thoughts attack our heart and mind… ‘What was that?!’ WOW! That was .. that was…. ‘  and we realize the Ox has run away… We no longer see him…

Okay, we must put our heads down, follow his tracks again and find this Ox, and we do, with our deep faith now firmly rooted, we will see our Ox again, and we do and soon he is always within our sight.

Realizing the utmost beauty and love this Ox emanates, we can’t keep our focus off of it anymore, and we find our frantic chase has changed into a steady, determined gait. The Ox seems to beckon us, it keeps turning his head towards us and our eyes meet, yet it remains wild and still is moving away from us. With our deep faith and determined practice, we soon find we are right next to the Ox, ready to start herding him.. This leads us to the next picture, ‘Catching the Ox’, which I will talk about next time… Hope to see you then!

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One thought on “Oxherding III – Seeing the Ox

  1. Pingback: Asalha Puja | oxherderzen

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