Herding the Ox (Part 2)

(This is the second part of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s version of the Tex Ox Herding verses. These are traditional verses that describe the progress of spiritual practice, with the ox symbolizing our inherent nature.)


6. Riding the Ox Home

As I ride the ox,
making my way home,
it turns out he already knows the way.
Sitting on his back
and playing the flute,
its harmonious melody goes far and wide.
Hearing this sound,
the villagers all come out to welcome me.


7.  Forgetting the Ox

At last the ox and I have returned home.
My mind is utterly at peace,
the ox too is resting,
and an auspicious light
fills the entire house.
This small, thatched-roof hut
knows no worry or suffering,
and at last I can lay down the whip and reins.


 

 

  

8. Myself and the Ox both Forgotten   

The whip and the rope,
even the ox and myself,
are all empty, gone without a trace.
Oh this sky, so wide and open
so vast and boundless.
There’s no place for even a single dust mote to settle.
How could I ever be ensnared again?
   

9. Returning to the Source 

 I’ve crossed over so many mountains
in order to return to this root.
Here is my true home
in appearance like the open sky
with nothing hindering it and nothing to be gotten rid of.
The waters of a stream just flowing,
the flowers so beautiful.
   


10. Returning to the Town

Although I’m wearing old rags,
there’s no sense of lack.
As I mix with the many people
on the streets and markets,
their suffering fades away,
and even dead trees come to life.
Such a deep valley,
yet the turbulent waters
cannot claim me.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Herding the Ox (Part 2)”

  1. ‘Herding the Ox’ is very poetic, it is like a painting depicting someone’s journey. For me it also feels like something very highly priced in a museum behind a glass, something I can see, but cannot touch. “turbulent waters
    cannot claim me” – this image in my mind comes so often, and in dreams too. (getting out of suffering is my day and night, conscious and unconsious feeling)

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