Thursday, August 18, 2011

八 Both Ox and Self Transcended

Footprints, hoofprints...
Both will fade
Only slightly ahead of those who left them

In turn, so will the echoes of the canon

Held in the breath
Is the path to the old monk in the Western Heaven

This stage of the Ox Herding intimidated me before I even began.

How much of my understanding is merely conceptual, intellectual? But if this is my root, my source, am I not experiencing it in each moment?

Only, at what depth?

I'm looking at this now asking, "Did I just write that?" (I can't say I'm over myself just yet!)

Even understanding seems transient!

(In case you're wondering, the spelling "canon" isn't a typo, but you have a right to wonder, I make many! And the old monk in the Western Heaven is taken from Wuxue Zuyuan's poem.)

Both Bull and Self Transcended

Whip, rope, man, and ox,
All are non-existent.
The blue sky being vast,
No message can be heard,
Just as the snowflake cannot last
In the flaming red furnace.
After this state,
One can join the ancient teachers.


  1. In the Kwan Um School tradition, today's image - the circle - is said to represent "substance," which is that which cannot be described or talked about in any way.

  2. This is basically me not knowing but not understanding my not knowing!