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Shambhala Congress

OXHERDING

by Chögyam Trungpa

I have decided to include the ten oxherding pictures, a well-known Zen representation of training of the mind, so basic that it could be considered fundamental to all schools of Buddhism. A deeper way of looking at it is in terms of spiritual development from Shravakayana to Maha Ati. In the Tibetan tradition there is an analogy of elephant herding but it refers largely only to the practice of shamatha. The symbolism does not go beyond the riding of the elephant. In the oxherding pictures the evolutionary process of taming the bull is very close to the Vajrayana view of the transmutation of energy. Particularly returning to the world as the expression of the compassion of the Nirmanakaya shows that the final realization of Zen automatically leads to the wisdom of Maha Ati.


Oxherding I - The Search for the Bull


Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's commentary on the Oxherding (10 Bulls) pictures was first published in Mudra by Shambhala Publications in 1972, pp. 73-93 (now back in print).

Text is © copyright 1972 by Chögyam Trungpa, used with permission of Diana J. Mukpo and of Shambhala Publications (All Rights Reserved).

The Oxherding illustrations, by Tomikichiro Tokuriki, are used with permission of Charles Tuttle & Co., who published them in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, by Paul Reps. The book is available in hardcover from Tuttle for $16.95 (ISBN 0-8048-0644-6) - call toll-free at 1-800-526-2778 to order.

Oxherding for the Web by Mark Szpakowski (szpak at eastlink dot ca)

 
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