The 10 Bulls of Zen

After the ordeal I had this week, I finally feel that the disease in under control, even though I don’t have all of my energy back. The situation reminded me of the Ten Bulls of Zen, by Kakuan, transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps, illustrated by Tomikichiro Tokuriki, HTML version by Jamie Andrews.

In these pictures, the bulls represent the eternal principle of life, that is, truth in action. Each bull represents a step in the direct experience and realization of one’s true nature. Riding the bull home, or “coming home on the Ox’s back” was traditionally the sixth bull of Zen. This is what Hakuan had to say in D. T. Suzuki’s, Manual of Zen Buddhism (Grove Press, New York, 1960, page 132):

The struggle is over; the man is no more concerned with gain and loss. He hums a rustic tune of the woodman, he sings simple songs of the village boy. Saddling himself on the ox’s back, his eyes are fixed on things not of the earth, earthy. Even if he is called, he will not turn his head; however enticed he will no more be kept back.

and the poem:

Riding on the animal, he leisurely wends his way home;
Enveloped in the evening mist, how tunefully the flute vanishes away!
Singing a ditty, beating time, his heart is filled with a joy indescribable!
That he is now one of those who know, need it be told?

I’m writing this detail to express a feeling of having tamed my disease. Not that it won’t have to be monitored from time to time, but the major danger is over, and I feel joyous!

Although the web site will continue to grow, this will be the second to last chapter in the book, Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves, as I will submit Yellow Stream for publication as of Father’s Day, June 15. I feel that this is an important time for me to release the book because my children should be quite secure that the worst part of my disease has been conquered by then, and it is a good day to celebrate! The book will conclude with a chapter that summarizes and prioritizes my healing process, and should be very interesting.


Manual of Zen Buddhism