This Zen guide offers a readable, helpful interpretation of a classic pillar of Zen training.
The Venerable Myokyo-ni is one of today's most distinguished teachers in the Rinzai Zen tradition. In Gentling the Bull she offers an insightful explanation of the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures, showing how they are a metaphor of both one's Zen training and spiritual journey.
The Ten Ox-Herding Pictures, also known as the Ten Bull Pictures, are believed to have been drawn by Kakuan, a twelfth century Chinese Zen master, but became widely used as a means of Zen study in fifteenth-century Japan. They are used in formal Zen training to this day to show the stages of one's realization of enlightenment. Each of the ten pictures is presented here with a preface and general foreword to the series by Chi-Yuan, a monk in the direct line of Kakuan. Myokyo-ni provides a lucid introduction that sets the pictures in their historical context and shows their relevance to modern Zen training. In her own comments on each picture, she discusses how they are representative of our own search for "oneness" — spiritual fulfillment.