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Oxherding Pictures Index







J. Marvin Spiegelman, Ph.D.


Mokusen Miyuki, Ph.D.






Copyright @ 1985 by J. Marvin Spiegelman and Mokusen Miyuki

J. Marvin Spiegelman (1926-) has a Ph.D. from U.C.L.A. and is a Diplomate in clinical psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology. He is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. He has taught at U.C.L.A., U.S.C. and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has a private practice as a Jungian analyst in Studio City, California.
Mokusen Miyuki holds a B.A. degree in Eastern Religions from the University of Tokyo, an M.A. degree in Western Philosophy from U.C.L.A. and a Ph.D. in Asian Studies from Claremont Colleges. He is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. He is a professor at California State University at Northridge, practices as a Jungian analyst in the Los Angeles area and is a Buddhist Priest.




Part Two



Self-Realization in the Ten Oxherding Pictures
- by Mokusen Miyuki,
pp. 29-42.

The Ten Oxherding Pictures of Zen Buddhism: A Commentary
- by J. Marvin Spiegelman,
pp. 43-87.

THE RONIN: A Fictional Portrayal of the Oxherding Series
- by J. Marvin Spiegelman,
pp. 89-103.





By Mokusen Miyuki


In my paper entitled, "A Jungian Approach to the Pure Land

Practice of Nien-fo." I challenged the prevailing psychological view

of Eastern religions as aiming at the "dissolution," or at the least

the "depotentiation," of the ego.1 I argued that the Pure Land

Buddhist practice of nien-fo (the mental andlor verbal recitation of

Amitabha's name), for example, aids the individual to strengthen,

rather than dissolve, the ego through the integration of unconscious

contents. In this paper, I would like to further support this point

by examining the Zen tradition's Oxherding Pictures.2 These pictures

are products of the Zen "mind" and express in an art form the

experience of satori or Zen enlightenment. Since enlightenment is

a psychological reality par excellence, these pictures can be analyzed

by employing Jungian methodology and his conceptual framework,

and by viewing them as portraying what C.G. Jung calls "the

individuation process."

Although only a few sets of the Oxherding Pictures exist today, in

the past there must have been several sets of pictures - and those

of various numbers. The variety of sets can be inferred from the

fact that there are records of differing "verses" which accompany

such pictures.3 The Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki has made two sets of

the Ten Oxherding Pictures which are well known in the West:

namely, the set whose accompanying ten Prefaces and Verses were

written by the twelfth century Zen master Kuo-an (Kaku-an in

Japanese) and another earlier version to which the Zen master

Pu-ming wrote the ten accompanying Verses.4 The version by

Kuo-an has enjoyed wide acceptance in Japan while the one by

Pu-ming was popular in China.5

Pu-ming's Ten Oxherding Pictures portray a wild, black ox that

becomes increasingly white as the pictures proceed. These pictures

are entitled: (1) Undisciplined, (2) Discipline Begun, (3) In Harness,

(4) Faced Round, (5) Tamed, (6) Unimpeded, (7) Laissez Faire, (8) All

forgotten, (9) The Solitary Moon, and (10) Both Vanished.

Evidently, the emphasis in these pictures is placed upon the

gradual achievement of satori (Zen enlightenment), which is

shown by the progressive whitening of the black ox. The concept

of whitening that which is black is based on the Buddhist doctrine

of tathagatagarbha, the realization of the Buddha-nature, or the

genuine self, which is obscured by the dark side of the personality.

According to Ts'u-yuan, who wrote the Preface to Kuo-an's

version, Kuo-an was not satisfied with the idea of a gradual

whitening of the ox, nor with the gradual, progressive liberation

of the Buddha-nature; thus, he presented his experience of satori in

a different manner. His pictures are entitled: (1) Searching for the

Ox, (2) Seeing the Traces, (3) Seeing the Ox, (4) Catching the Ox,

(5) Herding the Ox, (6) Coming Home on the Ox's Back, (7) The

Ox Forgotten, (8) The Ox and the Man Both Forgotten, (9)

Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source, and (10) Entering the

City with Bliss-bestowing Hands. The notion expressed in these

pictures is the sudden gain or loss of one's genuine self, as

symbolized by the ox.6

The Oxherding Pictures have also been referred to as the Mind-ox

Pictures, thus indicating that the ox, or the genuine self, in the

picture represents the Zen concept of "mind."7 In Chinese

Buddhism, the term "hsin," "mind," which also refers to the

"heart" or essence, has been used interchangeably with the term

II hsing," which means nature or essence. Accordingly, in Zen the

psychic reality connected with the word"mind is that of satori in

the sense of "seeing one's own natureJ'(chien-hsing). A famous Zen

tenet illustrates this connection:


A special transmission outside the scriptures,

Not depending upon letters,

Pointing directly to the Mind (literally "human mind")

See into Nature itself and attain Buddhahood.8


In this tenet the words"mind," "nature," and "Buddhahood are

all used to express different aspects of one and the same reality;

namely, satori.

The view of satori implied in the pictures of both Pu-ming and

Kuo-an is to be understood in terms of the doctrine of tathagatagarbha,

or realization of the Buddha-nature. This doctrine assures the

possibility of universal enlightenment and has become basic to the

so-called "sinified Buddhism," such as Hua-yen, T'ien-tai, Ch'an

(Zen in Japanese), or Ch'ing-t'u (Pure Land). For instance, Chihyen

(602-668 A.D.), the third patriarch of Hua-yen Buddhism,

viewed the Buddha-nature as having a tripartite character: (1) the

Buddha-nature itself, the genuine essence which is universally

ever-present in all beings, although it is in a state of dark

ignorance and passion, obscured and defiled; (2) the Buddhanature

as the driving force, (yin-chu) or the fundamental urge to

realize itself through the practice of prajna (wisdom) and samadhi

(concentration); and (3) the Buddha-nature as perfectly realized

through practice.9 In Zen, as mentioned above, both terms,

"mind" and "nature" are used interchangeably in designating the

Buddha-nature. Hence, the Zen concept of "mind refers to

something quite different from the Western concept of the word.

Jung was well aware of the fact that the Eastern concept of

"mind" is radically different from that in the West. He states; "In

the West, 'mind' is more or less equated with consciousness,

whereas in the East the word 'mind' is closer to what the West

refers to as the unconscious."10 Jung seems to imply here that in

the East the word "mind" designates what he means by the

"psyche," or the psychological process which includes both conscious

and unconscious. Were this so, the Zen concept of mind could be

taken as equivalent to Jung's concept of the total psyche, or the


Jung explains the relationship of consciousness to the unconscious

as follows:


Consciousness, no matter how extensive it may be, must

always remain the smaller circle within the greater circle of

the unconscious, an island surrounded by the sea; and like the

sea itself, the unconscious yields an endless and self-replenishing

abundance of living creatures, a wealth beyond our fathoming.11


From this viewpoint, then, the Oxherding Pictures can be understood

as depicting the attempt of the oxherd, or the ego, to creatively

relate itself to the inexhaustible treasure of the "mind-ox," or the

unconscious. In Kuo-an's version, however, this confrontation of

the ego with the unconscious ceases with the seventh picture

wherein an "individuated man" is portrayed. Accordingly, the last

three pictures by Kuo-an can be taken as describing the life of the

genuine man, or the individuated ego, working in the service of

the Self in and through common, daily activities.

In writing about individuation, Jung states: "Individuation

means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as

'individuality' embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable

uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could

therefore translate individuation as 'coming to selfhood' or 'Self-
realization.' "12
The German term Selbstverwirklichung, which is

translated here as "self-realization" in English, indicates the

psychological urge of the Self to realize itself - the Self being the

center and the whole circumference embracing both conscious

and unconscious psyche. This point is clarified by Edward F.

Edinger when he states: "Individuation seems to be the innate

urge of life to realize itself consciously. The transpersonal life

energy in the process of self-unfolding uses human consciousness,

a product of itself, as an instrument for its own self realization."13

According to Jung, therefore, individuation begins with the

innate urge of the Self for realization, regardless of the conscious

will or external situation. To become "a single, homogenous

being" is not something the ego can create at will. Being driven by

the Self's urge, it becomes possible for the ego, the center of the

conscious personality, to evolve. Jung states:


"The ego stands to the self as the moved to the mover, or as

object to subject, because the determining factors which

radiate out from the self surround the ego on all sides and are

therefore supraordinate to it. The self, like the unconscious, is

an a priori existent out of which the ego evolves. It is, so to

speak, an unconscious prefiguation of the ego. It is not I who

create myself, rdther I happen to myself."14


This fundamental urge of self realization is basic to the creative

life of the individual as well exemplified in Jung's Memories, Dreams,

Reflections which begins with the following statement:


"My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.

Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation,

and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious

condition and to experience itself as a whole."15


The innate urge for self-realization has been designated in

Buddhism as that aspect of the Buddha-nature which, to use

Chih-yen's conception, is manifested as the driving force to realize

itself. The Buddha-nature is always present as Kuo-an states in

his Preface to the first picture: "The beast has never gone away, and

what is the use of searching for him" (p. 129). In Kuo-an's version,

the eternal presence of the Buddha-nature as the Self's urge to

realize itself is symbolized by the circle in which each of the ten

pictures are depicted. For, the circle, which conveys the idea of the

non-beginning and non-ending quality of eternity, represents the

ever-presence of the Buddha-nature in which Zen practice takes


Once the innate urge of the Self to realize itself is activated, the

Self relentlessly imposes on the ego the task of integrating the

dark side of the psyche, or the unconscious. For as "the smaller

circle within the greater circle of the unconscious,"16 the ego is

constantly conditioned by the Self as the determining factor for its

existence and development. Since the Self is the paradoxical

totality in which the opposites such as conscious and unconscious,

light and darkness, good and evil, are united, there is no conscious

realization of totality without integration of the opposites. Jung

states: "Whenever the archetype of the self predominates, the

inevitable psychological consequence is a state of conflict . . . and

man must suffer from the opposite of his intention for the sake of

completeness."17 The ego, thus endangered by the demand of the

Self's urge to realize itself, is depicted in Pu-ming's version of the

Oxherding Pictures by the gradual process of whitening, that is, the

depotentiating and integrating the wild black ox as the symbol of

the overwhelming energy of the unconscious.

Self-realization, or the ego's encounter of the archetype of the

Self, is not a neutral experience. As a numinous experience, it

exercises a powerful influence on the shaping or reshaping of

conscious contents. Jung states:


. . .the archetypes have, when they appear, a distinctly

numinous character which can only be described as "spiritual,"

if "magical" is too strong a word. Consequently this phenomenon

is of the utmost significance for the psychology of religion. In

its effects it is anything but unambiguous. It can be healing or

destructive, but never indifferent, provided of course that it

has attained a certain degree of clarity.18


Edward F. Edinger characterized the development of the ego in

its confrontation with the Self as a circular process of alternating

ego-Self separation and ego-Self union. He states: "Indeed, this

cyclic (or better, spiral) formula seems to express the basic process

of psychological development from birth to death."19 In this

manner, the progressive differentiation of the conscious life takes

place continually throughout life as the result of conscious

assimilation of the unconscious contents, or the enrichment of

consciousness by the integration of the unconscious. The idea of

the progressive enrichment of the conscious life is evidently

depicted by Pu-ming, as mentioned above, by the gradual process

of whitening, or integrating, the wild black ox, or the unconscious.

It is also indicated by Kuo-an in the tenth picture of his version of

the Oxherding Pictures. In this picture"Entering the City with Blissbestowing

Hands," the scene of an old man meeting a young boy in

the market place is portrayed, showing thus that enrichment of

conscious life in and through common activities, such as meeting

or greeting people on the street. With this last picture, the

development of the ego reverts to ordinary life depicted in the first

picture but on a richer level of consciousness.

Psychologically speaking, the circle symbolizes the temenos, the

magic circle, or the protective function of the Self. The ego

consciousness, as mentioned above, constantly faces the danger of

being assimilated by the menacing energy of the unconscious. If it

is to resist assimilation and be protected from the danger of

fragmentation or disintegration, it is of prime importance for the

ego to be strengthened by integrating the unconscious contents.

In self-realization, the Self, which is the paradoxical totality,

provides the ego with the strength and stability for its development

while it simultaneously imposes on the ego the task of integrating

the dark side of the personality. The protective function of the

Self is indicated, in Kuo-an's version of the Oxherding Pictures, by the

circle in which each of the ten pictures are depicted, representing

thus the ever-presence of the Buddha-nature, or the Self, which

provides the practitioner with strength and stability. The square

in which Pu-ming portrayed each of the ten pictures in his version

can also be taken as showing the utmost importance of the

integration of the unconscious into consciouness, being supported

by the Self's protective function.

In Zen practice, the archetype of the Self is projected onto the

master as the ideal self-image; hence, the encounter of the ego

with the Self takes place, as projected on the master-disciple

relationship. Accordingly, Zen emphasizes the importance of

meeting the "right" master for the disciple in seeking for a genuine

realization of satori. The encouragement as well as the admonition

of the master provides the disciple with the temenos within which

the latter's psychological security is gained. Being thus protected

from an unconscious outburst and disintegration, the disciple can

attempt to creatively relate himself to the treasure house of the

Buddha-nature or the unconscious.

Jung has observed that in the numinous experience, or the

confrontation with the Self, mandala symbolism often emerges in

the manifested unconscious materials, such as dreams, fantasies,

psychic episodes, myths, fairytales, and such religious depictions

as the Oxherding Pictures.

According to Jung, a mandala is a symmetrical structure

consisting of ternary or quaternary combinations which are

concentrically arranged. The ternary combinations symbolize the

dynamic process of development or growth, whereas the quaternay

configurations represent a static structual wholeness, or completion.

20 Jung's observation about the combination of the numbers

three and four can be seen in the first seven pictures in Kuo-an's

Ten Oxherding Pictures. Were it possible for us to understand the

third picture, "Seeing the Ox," as representing the Zen "goal" of

"seeing into Nature itself,"2' then, the fourth picture, "Catching

the Ox," can be taken as representing attained wholeness or

completion. Since self-realization is cyclic or spiral, as symbolized

by the empty circle, the achieved totality is both the end and the

beginning. Thus, as soon as the fourth state is realized, a new

struggle begins on a higher level of consciousness. The new

process thus initiated in the fourth picture reaches its culmination

in the sixth picture, with the seventh picture, as the fourth of this

second series, depicting the completion of the second ternary

process. Therefore, in the first seven pictures, we can observe two

sets of processes: the process from the first to the third picture

with the fourth as the completion, and the process from the

fourth to the sixth picture with the seventh as a second completion.

Since the number seven comprises the union and totality of the

ternary process and the quaternary completion, the seventh

picture can be taken as portraying a final accomplishment.

The view that the seventh picture of Kuo-an's version is

symbolic of the completion of the process is supported by the title,

"The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone." In the preceding

pictures, individuation or self-realization - in terms of the

dialectical confrontation of the ego (the oxherd) and the Self (the

ox) - has led the individual to experience a transformation of

personality symbolized as "the Man." Kuo-an states in his Verse:

"Where Lo! the ox is no more [in Sanskrit, literally"emptied1; the

man alone sits serenely" (p. 132). Thus, the ox, the Self, has

"emptied itself to become the "man." With this seventh picture,

the oxherding scenes cease and the "man" is depicted instead of

the ox. In Pu-ming's version, this individuated man is portrayed in

the ninth picture, entitled "The Solitary Moon."

In Kuo-an's Ten Oxherding Pictures, therefore, satori as the ongoing

process is depicted as three sets of processes; namely, the

initial process from the first to the third picture with the fourth as

the completion; the continuing process from the fourth to the

sixth picture with the seventh as a second completion, which is

followed by the life of the "individuated ego," or the "Selfcentered

ego," the ego which functions in the service of the Self,

portrayed from the eighth to the tenth pictures. This third process

reverts to the first picture as a third completion, returning thus to

the "beginning" on a different level of consciousness.

The genuine "man" in the seventh stage must face, and struggle

with another serious problem, or duhkha ("dis-ease"), precisely

because this is the final state of achievement for the ego that has

attempted conscious assimilation of unconscious contents. At this

stage, individuation as the confrontation of the ego with the Self

ceases as such; for, as far as the ego is concerned, there are no

resources to draw upon in order to affect any change regarding

the realization of the next stage. This stage can manifest as the

perilous state of psychic stagnation against which it is said that the

ego has no means to cope. This danger of psychic stagnation has

been recognized in Buddhism and designated ast'the danger of the

Bodhisattva, or [of] the seeker for the ultimate enlightenment

sinking into sunyata, or "emptiness."

According to the Dasabhumi-sutra, the "Sutra of the Ten 'Stages,' "

which describes the ten stages of the Bodhisattva's spiritual

progress, the Bodhissattva faces the danger of "sinking into

sunyata," especially when he arrives at the seventh stage called the

"Far-going" which follows the realization of the truth of "Interdependent

Origination" at the sixth stage.22 Since no means is

available for the ego to overcome this psychic danger, the leap from

this state to the next is no longer felt as an activity of the ego. Thus

the Dasabhumi-sutra metaphorically speaks of the transition from

the seventh stage, "Far-going," to the eighth, "Immovable," as

follows: A sleeping man sees himself in a dream trying desperately

to cross a raging torrent and to reach the yonder shore. His

hopeless attempt awakens him. Once awakened, he finds himself

free from all dis-ease (duhkhas) of worry, despair, frustration, or

agony. The sutra describes this experience of satori, or awakening as

"without merits" (anabhogatas).2~T he phrase "without merits"

refers to the psychological condition wherein self-realization

takes place so as the ego comes to function in an "ex-centric''

manner in the service of the Self. Jung refers to this psychological

state as"an ego-less mental condition," "consciousness without an

ego," or the like, which is also expressed by St. Paul as the state in

which "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"

(Galatians 2:20).24 The Dasabhumi-sutra maintains, therefore, that

the practice of the ten paramitas, or "perfections," in this eighth

stage - as well as the last two stages - is carried out in and

through the realization of the Buddha's wisdom and compassion.

In other words, in these three last stages, the Bodhisattva is in the

service of, and in perfect unison with, the spontaneous manifestation

of the activity of the Buddha's wisdom and compassion. The

expression"without merits"designates this Self-centric"functioning

of the psyche in self-realization.25

In the eigth picture, ther'Self-centric" functioning of the psyche

is symbolized by the empty circle. As mentioned above, the circle

in which each of the ten pictures is portrayed represents the

ever-present activity of the Buddha-nature, or the Self in which

Zen practice is pursued. Therefore, ther'empty circ1e"of the eighth

picture can be taken as depicting the fully manifested activity of

the Buddha-nature, or the Self, in the conscious life of the

practitioner whose ego functions in the service of the Self. This is

to say, in this "Self-centric" condition of the psyche, the individual

experiences the paradoxical state-process of simultaneous occurrence

of emptying-fulfilling, or negating-affirming, in regard to the

psychological life. The ego is emptied by the very act of the Self

realizing, or fulfilling, its urge. To put it differently, in facing the

emptying activity of the Self's urge, the ego is forced endlessly and

relentlessly to sacrifice whatever it has achieved. Yet this sacrifice

of the ego is, at the same time, the fulfillment of the urge of the

Self, or the genuine man.

Accordingly, this ego-sacrifice in the sense of Self-fulfillment

must not be confused with ego-dissolution or ego-depotentiation.

On the contrary, the integrated ego is strong and flexible enough

to develop the attitude of listening in order to function harmoniously

with the Self. The ego thus strengthened can function in unison

with, and in the service of the Self. Therefore, the word

"forgotten" used in Kuo-an's title, "The Ox and the Man both

Forgotten," designates the emptying activity of the Buddhanature,

or the Self, which is supraordinate to the function of the

ego. Hence, once the "Self-centric" functioning of the psyche

takes place, thenego-centric" functioning of the psyche is"forgotten"

or has disappeared. What is overcome is not the ego itself but the

function of the ego which is to be characterised as "ego-centric." In

Buddhism the term "ego-centric" is used to describe the ego's

appropriating orientation which is conditioned by the darkness or

ignorance and the egoistic passion of defilement and which,

accordingly, obscures the genuine activity of the Buddha-nature.

In the Taoist tradition, the word"forgotten"(wang) has been used

synonymously with wu-wei, "non-doing" or "letting something

be," or tsu-jan, "naturalness" or "being through itself." Therefore,

the word "forgotten" indicates the psychological condition of

"being emptied (kung, sunyata) wherein the ego is opened to the

service of the activity of the Self, the matrix of life.

The last two pictures of Kuo-an's version continue to describe

the "Self-centric" functioning of the psyche. For the individuated

ego, or the ego functioning in the service of the Self, neither the

human world nor the natural world are experienced as alien to

itself. Both nature and human activity become authentic to the

genuine man. He experiences both as the Buddha-nature realizing

itself in different modalities. Psychologically viewed, the experience

of the Buddha-nature, or the Self, in nature and human relationships

can be understood as paralleling the archetype of the Self which is

sometimes associated with synchronistic or parapsychological

events. In the Preface to the ninth picture, "Returning to the

Origin, Back to the Source," Kuo-an states: "From the very

beginning, pure and immaculate, the man has never been affected

by defilement" (p. 133). This "original so-ness" refers to the

universal presence of the activity of the Buddha-nature, or the

Self, which realizes itself in and through the receptive, flexible

ego. The same idea of "natura1ness"is also referred to in the last

line of Kuo-an's Verse: "Behold the streams flowing whither

nobody knows; and the flowers vividly red - for whom are they?"

(p. 134). This verse can be translated literally as follows: "The

stream flows on its own accord, and the flower is red on its own

accord." The Chinese term tsu, "of its own accord," is used as a

compound, tsu-jan, in Taoist thought, meaning "naturalness,"

occurring as the creative spontaneity of nature, within and

without. In other words, tsu-jan can be taken psychologically as the

living reality of self-realization, or the creative urge of the Self

manifesting itself in nature.

The living reality of the Self is also experienced in human affairs

as interpersonal relationships. This is the theme of the last

picture, in Kuo-an's version entitledr'Entering the City with Blissbestowing

Hands." A common, everyday occurrence is portrayed

in which a young man is meeting an old man in the market place. In

his Preface, Kuo-an states: "Carrying a gourd he [the old man] goes

into the market, leaning against a staff he comes home. He is

found in company with wine-bibbers and butchers, he and they

are all converted into Buddhas" (p. 134).

It should be noted here that the old man depicted in the picture

has a belly protruding like that of the so-called laughing Buddha.

D.T. Suzuki interprets this emphasis on the belly as showing the

significance of "diaphragmatic thinking," or "a sort of 'thinking'

which is done with the whole body or the whole 'person."'26 This

man embodies what Lin-chi (d. 866) calls "the total action of total

being."27 A man who "thinks" thus goes anywhere he likes and

makes all sorts of friends as a manifested activity of sunyata, which

is symbolized by the gourd he carries. In other words, this man is

the genuine man in and through whom self-realization or

emptyinglfulfilling activity of the Buddha-nature, takes place.

Tsu-te, the author of the Six Oxherding Pictures, depicts in the last,

sixth, picture the life of the genuine man, or the Self, as a person

who can function as a total being, or the Self, by playfully

assuming any samsaric form of existence, depending on the

circumstances in which he finds himself.28 This playfulness is,

psychologicalIy understood, "an ego-less" or the "Self-centric"

condition of the psyche wherein self-realization takes place. In

Buddhism, it is the play of the Bodhisattva who, out of selfless

compassion, mingles with sentient beings in suffering in order to

liberate them. In this manner, this last picture merges with the

first picture on a different level of consciousness.

Psychologically, the Oxherding Pictures can be taken as portraying

in an art form what Jung calls individuation. Our study, employing

Jung's concepts and methodology, has afforded us a psychological

understanding of Zen satori (enlightenment) in terms of selfrealization,

or the urge of the Self to realize itself. The essential

feature of satori does not consist in ego-transcendence or egonegation,

but rather in a life-long process which demands that the

ego make ceaseless efforts towards the integration of the unconscious

contents. The ego thus enriched and strengthened through

the assimilation of the unconscious is freed from "egocentric"

ways of functioning, which are conditioned by the darkness of

ignorance and passion. Consequently, the ego can attain an

attitude which allows it to function in an "ex-centric" manner in

perfect unison with, and in the service of, the Self. This state can

be designated as "Self-centric." Lin chi calls it "the total action of

the total being," or the Self realizing itself in its totality.



1. J. Jacobi, The Way of Individuation, trans. R.F.C. Hull (New

York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1967), p. 72. J. Henderson,

"The Jungian Orientation to Eastern Religionr'(taped lecture. Los

Angeles: C.G. Jung Institute, 1975). See M. Miyuki, "A Jungian

Approach to the Pure Land Practice of Nien-fo," The Journal of

Analytical Psychology (London: The Society of Analytical Psychology),

Vol. 24, no. 3 (July 1980), pp. 265-274.

2. This article is a further elaboration of the paper entitled

"Selbstverwirklichung in the Ten Oxherding Pictures," presented at

the Eighth International Congress of International Association

for Analytical Psychology. San Francisco. September, 1980.

3. Various numbers of the Verses which accompany The

Oxherding Pictures are found in the Zoku zokyo as follows: Kuo-an's

Prefaces and Verses to The Ten Oxherding Pictures (1. 2, 113, pp. 459a-

406band 1.2.116, pp. 489a-b); Pu-ming's Verses to The Ten Oxherding

Pictures (1. 2. 113, pp. 461a-462a), which are followed by those of

many other masters who also wrote their Verses to accompany the

pictures used by Pu-ming. Hence, the popularity of Pu-ming's

version is undeniable. The last of these masters is Chu-che, who

also wrote the ten verses to The White O x Pictures (1. 2. 113, pp.

470b-471a). There are also two other masters' Verses to The

Oxherding Pictures; namely, the Verses for The Six Oxherding Pictures,

composed by Tsu-te Hui-hui of the twelfth century (1.2.116, pp.

489b-490a) and the Verses for The Four Oxherding Pictures (1. 2. 137,

pp. 210a-b) by Hsueh-ting, a contemporary of Kuo-an. These

different Verses, composed by the five Zen Masters, to The

Oxherding Pictures of various numbers are translated into English by

Zenkei Shibayama. See The Zen Oxherding Pictures. Commentaries

by Zenkei Shibayama and Paintings by Gyokusei Jikihara (Osaka:

Sogensha, 1975). For an English translation and exposition of The

Six Oxherding Pictures, see Z. Shibayama, The Six Oxherding Pictures,

trans. Sumiko Kudo (Kyoto?): The Nissha Printing Co., Ltd. No Date).

4. For the English translation of Kuo-an's and Pu-ming's texts,

I have used D.T. Suzuki's translation in his Manual of Zen Buddhism

(London: Rider and Company, 1950), pp. 127-144. Suzuki's

translation of Kuo-an's text with his discussion is also found in his

article, "The Awakening of a New Consciousness in Zen," in Man

and Transformation. Bollingen Series xxx 5 (New York: Pantheon

Books, 1964), pp. 179-202. For another translation and discussion

of Kuo-an's version, see M.H. Treavor, tr. The Ox and His Herdsman:

A Chinese Zen Text (Tokyo: Hoduseido Press, 1969).

5. Yanagida Seizan,"Ni-hon Zen no toku-shoku" (Characteristics

of Japanese Zen), in Ogisu Jundo, ed., Zen to ni-hon buk-ka no sho

mon-dui (Problems of Zen and Japanese Culture) (Kyoto, Heirakuji

shoten, 1969), pp. 79-84.

6. Zoku zokyo 1. 2. 113, p. 459a.

7. Z. Shibayama, The Six Oxherding Pictures, pp. 3-4.

8. See D.T. Suzuki, Studies in Zen (London: Rider and Company,

1955)~p . 48.

9. Chih-yen, Hua-yen ching K'ung-mu chang (The Essentials of the

Hua-yen Sutra), Taisho 45, p. 549b-c.

10. C.G. Jung, "On'The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation',"

Psychology and Religion: West and East. The Collected Works of C. G. lung

(hereafter abridged as CW) 11 (New York: Pantheon Books, Inc.,

1958), par. 774.

11. C.G. Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy, CW 16, par. 366.

12. C.G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, CW 7, par 266.

13. E.F. Edinger, Ego and Archetype (Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin

Books, Inc., 1973), p. 104.

14. C.G. Jung, "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass," CW

11, par. 391.

15. C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Relfections, recorded and edited

by Aniela Jaffe: Trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York:

Pantheon Books, 1961), p. 3.

16. See footnote 11 above.

17. C.G. Jung, Aion, CW 9, ii, par, 123.

18. C.G. Jung, "On the Nature of the Psyche," The Structure and

Dynamics of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 405.

19. Edward F. Edinger, Ego and Archetype, p. 5.

20. Ibid., p. 188. For a discussion on the mandala symbolism of

the ternary process and quaternary completion in the major

teachings of Buddhism, see M. Miyuki, "The Ideational Content of

the Buddha's Enlightenment as Selbstverwirklichung" (see present


21. See D.T. Suzuki, Studies in Zen, p. 48.

22. The Dasabhumisvaro nama mahayanasutram, Edited Pyuko Kindo

(Tokyo: The Daijyo Bukkyo Kenkyu-kai, 1936), p. 119. The first

seven stages are the stages in which the Bodhisattva is said not to

be completely free from klesa or defilement. The finality of the

Bodhisattva's realization in the eighth stage is also suggested by

its name, i.e., "Immovable (acala), which indicates that the Bodhisattva

firmly establishes himself in Buddha's wisdom and compassion.

23. Ibid., p. 135.

24. See C.G. Jung, "On 'The Tibetan Book of the Great

Liberation'." CW 11, par 744. Also see C.G. Jung's "Foreword to

'Introduction to Zen Buddhism'." CW, par. 890.

25. The ninth stage is called "Excellent Wisdom" (sadhumati). At

this stage the Bodhisattva attains the four wisdoms of nonhinderances

by which he can preach the profound dharma of the

Buddha. The tenth stage is called "Dharma-Cloud" (dharma-magha).

At this stage of the final realization, the Bodhisattva bestows

Buddha's wisdom and compassion, or an abundance of dharma like

rain on all sentient beings in order to liberate them from the

samsaric existence of suffering and sorrow.

26. D.T. Suzuki, "The Awakening of a New Consciousness in

Zen," in Man and Transformation, p. 201.

27. Lin-chi, Chen-chou Lin-chi Hui-chao ch'an-shih y-lu (The Dialogues

of the Zen Master Lin-chi Hui-chao), Taisho 47, p. 501b.

28. See Z. Shibayama, The Six Oxherding Pictures, pp. 44.










A Commentary

By J. Marvin Spiegelman



When I first happened upon the Ten Oxherding Pictures, in

Manual of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki (1960), it was as if I had

found a great treasure, a visual representation of the process of

individuation in succinct, powerful form. I immediately thought

of the series of pictures from the Rosarium Philosophorum, the

German alchemical pictures which Jung (1946) had used so

brilliantly and profoundly to illustrate the transference. He

showed, thereby, that the underlying meaning of the transference

was the individuation process.

It was 1960, and I was back in the United States, in the midst of

the hurly-burly of earning a living, being a husband and father,

trying to maintain the deep inner connection with the soul which

was so nourished by my years of training at the C.G. Jung

Institute in Zurich. Sometimes I felt that I was not at all doing

what I had been trained to do and found it beyond my powers to

connect the introverted existence I had grown used to with the

requirements of adaptation to work and life in extraverted

America. The Oxherding Pictures were like a stream opening up

in the midst of the dry Southern California desert. I recalled my

dream of my psyche opening to the orient (see East and West: A

Personal Statement) and once more felt a continuity of process.

My own individuation was now proceding onward, despite the

appearance of blockage and wrong-turning. Synchronistically, I

met my first analysand from the Orient, and my link with the

East, particularly with Japan, has not been seriously interrupted

ever since.

Some years later, in a seminar, I attempted to present a

commentary on these pictures, along with my friend and colleague,

Mokusen Miyuki, but found that I could in no way satisfactorily

convey my understanding and appreciation of the series, despite

my strong desire and an apparently receptive audience. Once

more I experienced the gap between a charged and meaningful

inner connection and my capacity to link this up with the outer

world. This time, however, it was not only my own inner life that

was involved, it was the larger interior life of the whole cultural

experience of Buddhism which was hard to convey. Within a short

time, however, Buddhism burst into California like a great flood,

along with the spiritual revolution of the sixties, and soon its

general attitudes, tenets and techniques became a part of the

general consciousness of spiritually inclined people. A deeper

sense of reconciliation of inner and outer, of connection with "the

face before you were born," with the Self and its unity, were just

as evanescent as ever.

At that time, there appeared a paper by the same great scholar

of Buddhism, D.T. Suzuki (1964),"Awakening of a New Consciousness

in Zen," which included the Oxherding Pictures, along with a

brief commentary. When I saw how even the great Suzuki

struggled to convey his comprehension of Enlightenment and the

difficulties with it, I was consoled. I was startled to discover,

however, that my own understanding of the pictures differed in

some measure from his. Who was I to have a view about such a

work at all? I realized, then, that I was using the pictures as a

guideline, a source, and from a psychological point of view and not as

a scholar, a religious partisan (Buddhist), nor one thoroughly

steeped spiritually and culturally in such matters. I shall have

occasion, in what follows, to mention these differences of interpretation,

but mainly I shall be continuing the process of my own use of

these treasures from China and Japan. I shall, therefore, be

thinking of individuation, rather than Enlightenment, will be experiential

rather than scholarly, Californian and personal, rather than Oriental

and transpersonal. I do attempt, however, to be comparative and

to establish links with the scholarly and transpersonal.

Before I turn to the pictures themselves, I wish to continue this

explanation of how I arrived at even the possibility of such an

endeavor. In 1967, while at work on a fictional account of the

individuation process in various cultures and climes, I was inspired

to write a story of such a process using those same Oxherding

Pictures. In April 1967, on Buddha's birthday, I began such a story,

called The Ronin, which was my best attempt to both live through

and convey the individuation theme as shown in the pictures.

That story became part of a larger work, The Tree: Tales in Psycho-

Mythology, (1982, Falcon Press, Phoenix Az.) as I mention in East

and West: A Personal Statement. The Ronin is included in this book

as another way of communicating what it is that we are about in

the individuation process or the journey towards Enlightenment.

This fictional account was followed up by another story of

individuation seen from pictures, this time from those almost-asfascinating

images in Kundalini Yoga, commented upon by

Arthur Avalon (1918) in The Serpent Power. This story, in contrast to

the Buddhist spiritual warrior in The Ronin, is from a Hindu

woman's point of view. It is called Maya, the Yogini. These two tales,

plus the use of the Rosarium pictures of alchemy (in the story of The

African) in that same book, The Tree, began to satisfy my quest for a

kind of ecumenical individuation and spiritual journey with the use

of pictures. Finally, it took three volumes to truly bring together

the many-fold stories and variations into one larger Kabbalistic,

Taoistic, Buddhistic, Christian, Pagan whole (1975,1982,1984 ff).

So continued my desire to explicate or communicate this hardto-

describe process to a larger public. I grew to realize that this

same effort at communication was still part of my own process of

linking up this strange inner unity and multiplicity to the outer

world with its equally strange unity and multiplicity. I thought

that my efforts could come to rest, but this was not to be the case.

The vicissitudes of publishing (rejection, then acceptance but the

publisher going bankrupt), continued the same adventure but

now in the outer world. So the same conflict of inner and outer,

East and West, introversion and extraversion, spirit and body,

continued, now embodied in my"childn (the three books of fiction)

being able to walk around on its own in the world.

It was not until 1982 that this long-term repeat of the blockage

of 1959-60 was opened up once more. Again, the opening came

from the East, from Japan. My colleague, Dr. Mokusen Miyuki,

and I were invited to be principal speakers in an East-West

Conference taking place in Tokyo and Kyoto. I thus wrote my

East-West paper for that conference, speaking around the time,

once more, of Buddha's birthday, and enjoyed a totally heartwarming

reception from Japanese people. Among my many East-

West experiences was contact with a Swiss Catholic Priest who

was a scholar of Japanese Buddhism, and a Japanese Protestant

Minister who was about to become a Jungian Analyst! I felt at


That same period brought my re-connection with a friend, who

had now become a publisher and was interested in bringing out

my work, both fiction and non-fiction. And so, the circle (as in

Oxherding picture VIII) comes around to its starting point and I

once more have the opportunity to sum up and convey what those

pictures mean to me. For the last three or four years, I have also

lectured on these pictures to candidates in Jungian training, to

give them another view of the individuation process, in addition to

that shown by Jung's alchemical portrayal. Here ends the apologia,

that a Westerner might be so audacious as to write a commentary

at all!



Suzuki (1960 p. 127) tells us that the originals of the pictures we

are using were painted by a Zen Master of the Sung dynasty in

China, called Kaku-an Shi-en. This same master also authored the

remarkable poems and introductory comments which are attached

to the pictures. The ones in general use in Japan, however, were

painted by Shubun, a contemporary Japanese Zen priest of the

fifteenth century. There are other sets of pictures with the same

or similar theme, notably those by Seikyo (a contemporary of

Kaku-an) and by Jitoku. These latter are notable in that the

process ends with the circle, rather than the human reconnection

in life as in Kaku-an's and that there is a longer sequence in which

the ox undergoes notable whitening. These pictures will be

commented upon later on, but here we can only note that the

Kaku-an pictures are both more profound, in that they include

stages beyond that attainment of wholeness shown by the circle,

and that his pictures are more delicate, refined and differentiated.

It is particularly remarkable of Kaku-an to have completed such a

full task when his contemporaries, and the even later (1585) work

of Chu-hung with poems by Pu-ming, are clearly more primitive

in conception and execution.

When we compare both sets of pictures with those of the

Rosarium, we see at once that the Chu-hung and the alchemical

series are of similar rough quality, so that Kaku-an's achievement

stands out even more. What is suggested by this particula~

refinement and differentiation of the Zen Master is uncertain

Clearly, he is an inheritor of an already old and revealed tradition

with highly differentiated concepts, stages and achievements,

whereas the alchemical tradition was usually a hidden one

Alchemy was in a very different relation to the socially accepted

religion of Christianity than the Oxherding pictures was to

Buddhism. Whereas the latter explicated the basic tenets and

revealed them, alchemy compensated the prevailing religion by

describing a work in nature and in man, as Jung so eloquently

demonstrates. So we have, as we shall see, a remarkably modern

and clear presentation of the developmental process in the older

commentary by Kaku-an, in contrast to the alchemical work

which is abstruse and seemingly more distant to our modern ear,

though closer to us in time and culture. Thanks to Jung, however,

we can connect these two works, arising in roughly similar times

but continents away in space. I believe, however, they are

complementary in spirit.

Both series have ten pictures, just as do the Kundalini series,

and those of Tarot (at least for the ten Sephiroth of the Kabbalistic

Tree of Life; there are additional pictures of course, for their

interconnections). Jung informs us (Vol. 16,1946, paragraph 525

and footnote) that ten, the denarius, is considered to be a perfect

number. The Axiom of Maria, an alchemical formula of wholeness,

runs 4,3,2,1, in sequence. The sum of these numbers is ten, which

stands for unity on a higher level. This same unity, as Jung

explains from the alchemical sources, stands for the res simplex,

God as an indivisible unity and the monad. God is ten, therefore

the beginning and end of all numbers. The archetypal significance

of this -- which probably holds for the Oriental psyche as well as

the West -- is that of the Self, in Jung's sense, the symbolic

representation of that totality. The presentation of exactly ten

pictures on both continents, then, portrays and unfolds the nature

of that wholeness, which we in the West call God and the East calls


As we look at the structure of the pictures themselves, we

immediately note that the Rosarium images have no outer frame at

all, in contrast to those of the Oxherding series. Those of Chuhung

have a very clear square to contain the series, while Kaku-an

uses both an outer square for each picture and an inner circle to

contain the content and action. Does this perhaps also reflect that

the Oriental way is "contained" and part of the prevailing religious

collective, whereas the alchemical images are, indeed, outside the

pale, not contained in the prevalent religious structure? I think

that this is true, since the very beginning of the alchemical series

shows the problem and presentation of the "vessel" itself: a

Mercurial fountain and a basin into which the waters flow and

from which they arise. The framing is provided by symbols such as

the snakes spitting smoke, the stars, sun and moon and not simply

lines. We are faced with the problem of the vessel, the container,

right away. Where does the transformation take place? In matter,

in chemicals, in people, in nature? No person is shown in the

Rosarium at the outset, only the attempt at discovering the basis of

the transformation process itself. In the Oxherding series, we are

immediately confronted with a person, the young man, and know

at once that his dilemma and search is at the core of the issue. He is

the one to be transformed. So, then, the structure or frame --

Buddhism and meditation -- is already known. How different

from the "experiments" of alchemy!

As we consider, next, this issue of the appearance of people in

the pictures, we again perceive a central difference. The human

being is presented at the outset, and continually in the Eastern

series, with his absence being particularly notable and significant

in the last-but-one picture and its predecessor. In the Rosarium

series, after the initial image which is concerned with the vessel,

all pictures portray the vicissitudes of the person, but as a pair,

male and female, king and queen. In the latter, the entire series is

concerned with the differentiation and union of these two

alchemical figures, resulting in a oneness, a hermaphrodite, at the

end. With the Oxherding series, however, we are involved with

one person, an ordinary young man, until he vanishes temporarily,

with good reason, only to emerge at the end, changed, transformed,

old, but full of the life and vitality of the Enlightened person.

We can clearly see the complementary nature of the process as

grasped by the two world-views. In the one, contained and

understood in the religious collective of the day, there is the task

of the ordinary person to achieve Enlightenment. In the other --

secret, apart and even unknowing of what one is about -- there

gradually emerges a knowledge that the person is a vessel for the

union of opposites, and that, finally, individuation is a process

which requires human relationship. Jung makes much of this

relationship requirement in his commentary, so that it is particularly

notable how the two sets end. In the West there is a unity, one

androgynous creature. In the East there is the lonely man, after a

long work with himself, finally joining other people in ordinary

life (the wine-bibbers, etc.) At the end, he even meets someone

who looks remarkably like he, himself, looked at the outset.

One gets images from such presentations. In the East, the

seeker meditates, alone. He seeks advice from a Master, may even

live in a monastery, but ultimately he meditates alone. In the

West, one seeks psychotherapy, and the process of individuation is

very much felt in the context of the analytical relationship.

Indeed, the very content of this individuation process in psycho-

therapy reveals itself -- unexpectedly from the point of view of the

founders of this discipline -- in the relationship itself, the


So man alone transforms himself and comes back into the

world; and man finds himself in relation with another and thus

unifies the fragmentation of his soul. Complementary, indeed! It

seems particularly striking that the psyche, East and West, was

presenting itself in this complementary fashion around the same

time in the fifteenth century in China and Japan, and in the

sixteenth century in Europe. Was there a similar "renaissance" of

the spirit being worked on in both areas of the world? And now,

more than four hundred years later, when we compare, unite and

further develop the spirits of the East and West, are we in the

midst of another "renaissance," presaging world unity?

If we look a little further into this role of the personlpersons in

the two sets of pictures, we see that in the East there is no female.

In the West, the feminine is present from the outset, in the

symbolic form of vessel, of moon, etc., and then quite literally

throughout in the form of the queen. In the East, no woman at all.

How many women meditated, visited gurus, sought enlightenment?

Some, of course, since there have been Zen priestesses, for

example, for a very long time. It was mostly a man's work,

however. But was alchemy so different? There was Maria

Prophetissa, of course, and the profound influence of her "axiom,"

but were there female alchemists? One doesn't know, but Jung

intuits and I think rightly, that there must have been some form of

soror mystica, a feminine partner who was something additional to

the projection of the male alchemist's own anima. But we know

nothing of this. In the pictures, however, the feminine is clearly

personified in the West, but in the East, it is all background. It is a

circle, it is nature, it is the animal, it is both the source and goal of

the work.

In the East it is assumed, but not personified. In the West it is

personified and consciously united with. Perhaps it is part of the

West's gift to have the feminine as an equal, participatory partner

and that a future set of pictures, East and West, will have the

personal feminine and her process as much a part of the work as is

archetypally portrayed in these two sets.

It would be a mistake, however, to simply call both sets just a

part of the masculine individuation process or search for Enlightenment.

They are, rather, portraits of the "masculine," not men,

just as the portrayal of nature, circle, etc. are of the"femininer'and

not women. We are witness to the growth and differentiation of

the archetypal opposites, of king and queen, and not just those of

our ordinary egos. Both sets give us Enlightenment about

ourselves, male and female, masculine and feminine, and their


We can turn, now, to the individual pictures of the Eastern

series, to concentrate on their sequence, and only occasionally

remark on the comparison with the West. Before we do so,

however, one should note that another Eastern series, that of the

Kundalini, shares characteristics of the West, in that the male and

female, god and goddess, are part of almost every picture,

ultimately leading to a genderless union at the highest level. In

this, it is like the West. But in Kundalini, male, as form, only

gradually grows in power and signficance, whereas female, as

energy and power, gradually differentiates and becomes civilized

and spiritualized. In East and West, we have glimpses of the need

to civilize and differentiate, as well as to redeem and recover our

origins in nature and instinct. But the Oxherding series departs

from Kundalini, just as Buddhism did from Hinduism.

We shall present Kaku-an's commentary and poem, for each

picture, followed by a discussion of their meaning to us.


Picture One: Searching for the Ox


The beast has never gone astray, and what is the use of

searching for him? The reason the oxherd is not on intimate

terms with him is that the oxherd himself has violated his

own inmost nature. The beast is lost, for the oxherd has

himself been led out of the way, through his deluding senses.

His home is receding farther away from him, and byways and

crossways are ever confused. Desire for gain and fear of loss

burn like fire; ideas of right and wrong spring up like a



Alone in the wilderness, lost in the jungle,

the boy is searching, searching!


The swollen waters, the faraway mountains,

and the unending path;


Exhausted and in despair, he knows not

where to go,


He only hears the evening cicadas singing

in the maple woods.


How modern sound these words of Kaku-an! How strange that

our ear can hear the plaint of the contemporary person who has

lost his soul and is in search of it, here and there and everywhere.

No longer believing in God, nor man, nor "isms," the person

described in Jung's works as "A Modern Man in Search of a Soul"

is cut off from himself, estranged from his own depths, not

knowing where to turn. So, too, is the oxherd, of four hundred

years ago, lost.

But what is this ox that he is searching for? Suzuki tells us that

it is the mind, or heart, or better yet, the Self. It is that Self of the

Buddhist, or that Self of the Jungians, which is the center and

higher authority within, or the totality of his being, which is

portrayed here as an animal. Suzuki also tell us (1964, p. 198) that

the ox comes from the niu in Chinese, or ushi in Japanese, which

designates the bovine family generally; it is ox and cow and bull, of

no specific gender. It is the sacred animal in India and this

compared to the Self, or, as we in the West might say, the God


What Suzuki does not say, but perhaps those who are more

familiar with the symbolism in other cultures can realize, is that the

Self here appears as an animal, just as the Divine appears

represented as an animal in many traditions, even Christianity

(Jesus as the Lamb, for instance, and the evangelists with animal

symbols as representative of them). When we come to discuss

pictures IV to V1 we shall see how it is that we can have adifferent

view than Suzuki of this matter, but here we are in agreement: the

ox equals Self.

How can it be that the young man (ourselves) is estranged from

the Self, himself. "The beast has never gone astray,"says the text,

and Suzuki agrees. The original Self, or home, is one that we have

never left, but "owing to our intellectual delusions, we are led to

imagine (the Self) has disappeared from our sight. Searching for

the lost is a great initial error we all commit, which makes us think

we are finally awakened to a new consciousness.~~

Our psychological consciousness may help us understand this

paradox. The original Self, of course, is always there. It is ther'face

before we were born,"it is the potential wholeness from which we

come at the outset of existence and to which we both return and

achieve. But it is also something from which we can be estranged,

just as we, in the modern day, can be estranged from our animal

nature, as is implied by the Oxherding pictures. Full of our

modern rationalist delusions, the belief that reason and external

evidence provide the only truth, we are cut off from our animal

wisdom, our instincts. We thus endure a kind of deadness, cut off

from vitality and spontaneity, or else we are split and experience

mind and body as apart, separated.

The wonder is that this dilemma can be expressed with such

poetry and accuracy in the pictures and words of an alien culture

of more than 400 years ago! Can it be that the Chinese and

Japanese of the fifteenth century, whom we usually believe to be

more whole and united than we of the scientific present day, were

also afflicted with our disease? It seems to be. Not only that, but

there is indication that such a struggle comes from an older

tradition, that these poems and pictures are already part of the

institution of healing, just as is modern psychotherapy. This tells

us that our perceived understanding of the predicament of

modern man is not exclusively modern at all. In every age,

perhaps, there is the tendency of the psyche to dissociate itself, to

spontaneously produce "neurosis," not as a consequence of

external events alone, but as a result of the need of the soul itself

to differentiate further, to acquire more consciousness. Von

Franz describes just such a condition in her introduction to the

interpretation of Fairy Tales (1970). Splitting and fragmentation can

occur in the larger culture, just as it can in the individual, as the

need to develop further, to fulfil1 that same potential of greater

consciousness which was there in the beginning.

Is it not also possible that the China and Japan of the fifteenth

century were also in a condition similar to that of Europe,

undergoing an upheaval, in which the order of the middle ages

was breaking up?

In any case, the words here speak to our modern condition very

well. Nowadays, we have more than ever "gone astray" and we are

not on good terms with our inmost nature. Kaku-an tells us that

we are lost because of our "deluding senses." What deludes us is

the act of giving total authority to what our five senses present to

us from without, or even from within, and we do not open

ourselves to mystery, imagination, to the images which embellish

and enrich and even go beyond the information presented from

those same senses. So we are ever further away from the

experience of wholeness and aliveness, the sense of wonder

without which life is a meaningless round of drudgery.

Kaku-an tells us the psychic content of such a soul who is

confused on the way, knows he is lost, but has no sense of where

to find the path. "Desire for gain and fear of loss burn like fire,

ideas of right and wrong spring up like a phalanx." Again what an

insight! Desire, and competition and yearning for material gain is

our plague. We are a wild, undisciplined animal who lives in an

urban jungle, far from home. Along with the plague of desire

comes a judge with rigid views of right and wrong, ever evaluating

and condemning. Self and others are found wanting, we receive

no compassion, enjoy no rest. Is this not a poetic rendering of what

the first modern psychologist diagnosed? Id versus Superego, said

Freud; wish and desire versus guilt and judgment. Such is the

kingdom of our discontent, such is the pessimistic struggle for

which there is only consciousness as a valued outcome, a sweet

reason of awareness in the midst of pain.

But the Oxherding pictures and Zen promise more than a

diagnosis of despair and hopelessness, even here in the first

picture. The"moreJ'is found in the poem, the soft words of which

picture for us the condition and the hope as well. The poet tells us

of the lostness, and the searching, the unending searching. He

tells us of the exhaustion and despair and the not knowing where

to go. But he also tells us that the lost boy hears "the evening

cicadas singing in the maple woods."

What is this cicada if not the voice of nature herself, chirping her

age-old tune of joy and happiness, of oneness and harmony with

herself. The Oxford Dictionary tells us that the cicada is a"homopterous

insect," which means that its wings are of uniform texture,

patterned and harmonious. Our western version of the cicada is

the cricket, which the Standard Dictionary of Folklore (1949) tells us

was "much esteemed in antiquity," and had the quality of bringing

good and bad fortune, depending upon one's attitude toward it. It

was a prophet (of rain, death, or the approach of an absent lover), a

nostrum in healing, and a personification of the spirit of the

house, especially at the hearth. Thus the cicada is a symbol for

potential order, for harmony, for the oneness or union of animal

and man (insect and warming center of civilized condition).

Depending upon one's attitude, we are thereby in tune with time

(prophecy), love, renewal and even healed. Our suffering youth,

then, in hearing the cicada, is given an intuition, a promise of

wholeness in tiny, hardly visible form. His suffering is not just

that of endless despair, but he can perceive the possiblity of hope

as well.

We must not forget the other imagery of the poem and what our

modern psychology can tell us about it. "Swollen waters": a

symbol of the filled unconscious, ready to disgorge its contents,

frightening, but promising renewal. "Faraway mountains": a

symbol of the individuation process, that struggle to reach the

higher vision, to master oneself and touch the place where God

lives, atop mountains; for where God lives, there is higher

consciousness and greater vision. And finally, the "unending

path": the ancient symbol of the "way," the process of moving

Godward, of the seeking of the treasure hard to obtain.

All this does the poet tell us and all this does he convey in that

oriental fashion, with an image, with a word, a kind of haiku of the

spiritual path.


Picture II: Seeing the Traces


By the aid of the sutras and by inquiring into the doctrines, he

has come to understand something, he has found the traces.

He now knows that vessels, however varied, are all of gold,

and that the objective world is a reflection of the Self. Yet, he

is unable to distinguish what is good from what is not, his

mind is still confused as to truth and falsehood. As he has not

yet entered the gate, he is provisionally said to have noticed

the traces.


By the stream and under the trees, scattered

are the traces of the lost;


The sweet-scented grasses are growing thick--

did he find the way?


However remote over the hills and faraway

the beast may wander,


His nose reaches the heavens and none can

conceal it.


Kaku-an now tells us how one can procede on the path to

spiritual growth, to Enlightenment, to one's reconciliation with

one's self when one is confused and tormented. Given one's

ignorance, one studies the sutras and enquires into the doctrines.

We must then, in our modern dilemma, which seeks the psychotherapeutic

route to Enlightenment or individuation, read the

Bible -- Jewish and Christian -- the Koran, as well as the true

sutras of the East. Thereby, says Kaku-an, will we come to

"understand something," we will find the traces. "The traces of

what," we may ask? Why the traces of the ox, the divine spirit, the

Self which has been apprehended by many in the past, and has left

its deposits in the great books, the holy texts, the commentaries.

There, at least, we may begin to get a glimpse of how others saw it,

of how the divine has manifested itself in the cultures and peoples

of other times and places, as well as the culture into which were

born, and of whose mysteries and truths we have grown tired and

can not abide. Seen another way, the mysteries of all of these are

unfathomable to us because we have not yet, or can no longer,

grasp them as a living experience.

Still, says Kaku-an, the sutras, the texts, can help us find the

traces. Through such study and intellectual attention we can at

least come to comparative truths. We can discover that "vessels,

however varied, are all of gold." That is to say, we can realize that

all religions, all systems which pursue the manifestation of the

numinous, of God or the Self, contain a seed or expression of that

divine spark which touched the writers and seekers. All containers,

all theories, are valuable and holy. And, are we but wise enough to

grasp it, we can see that no vessel is the only one made of gold. No

religion or creed can rightly claim to be the true and exclusive

carrier of the divine. If all vessels are of gold, then no vessel is

particularly golden. Yet each vessel, when one is inside it, contains

the golden, and sometimes, when that Self speaks through its

imagery, through its words and experience, it would seem to be

the only olie, the particular and amazing. When God speaks to me,

I feel that my soul is His beloved, that He speaks only to me, and it

is hard for me to know that He does, indeed, speak only to me

when He talks to me, but that He has many bther lovers as well!

And He speaks to them in strange tongues, and sometimes in ways

which seem anathema to me. So, if God speaks in Sanskrit and

Chinese and Japanese, as well as Hebrew and Greek, Latin and

Arabic, German and English, well then, the many tongues are

relative. But that is for the most modernday, the day that Suzuki,

too, speaks of (1964, p. 198), that time when the world is

"becoming one, as it should, and the distinction of East and West is

disappearing, though slowly." This day, our day, is not that of

Kaku-an, yet he is like us when he knows that all vessels are of


Kaku-an also knows, in this second picture, that the seeker will

discover thro~gh the sutras, that the "objective world is a

reflection of the Self." Yes, we can discover that the same world

which deceived us with its multiplicity and variety, with its

unnourishing prescriptions, with its facts which offended us, is

also a representation of that Self which we are seeking. God's

body is "out there" in the world for all to see. The divine is all that

mess and confusion, hatred and division, as well as the wonder and

love and harmony. What, now; is that all we have found through

our study? No, says Kaku-an, no, indeed. For we still cannot

distinguish "what is good from what is not," what is true and what

is false. We have learned something, but we still do not know the

truth of thinking and the values of feeling. We are not yet, in

short, in touch with our own truth, our own values, our own Self. We

know the languages that God has spokenin the past, but we do not

yet know His own to us. We have seen traces but have not yet

experienced the Being itself. And now when we speak of God as

"He," we think, most modernly, that ushi and niu are oxes in the

sense of gender-free, not castrated; that the divine transcends role

and sex, even animal and human! But, as we have not yet entered

the gate, have not yet had our own experience of the divine, we

can only say that we have "noticed the traces."

The poem leads us in a somewhat different direction. Suzuki

tells us that there is nowhere that the kokoro is not. "We are always

in it, we are it." There is nowhere to seek, nowhere to hide,

because "all our running can never be outside the kokoro itself."

Thus the Self is everywhere we look, and everywhere we do not

look, for we are in the Self, and are the Self, and as a later picture

advises us, it was silly for us to seek in the first place. But seek we

must, because we are unhappy, and because, (and here is where,

perhaps, we part from the wisdom of Suzuki and rely on

psychological knowledge) this same Self wanted us to do so.

Perhaps God Himself, without even being aware of it, cast us out

so that we could bring Him back information about Himself. He

had everything, it seems, except a partner He could talk to. The

Angels only echoed (except for the Devil) and maybe He got bored.

The paradox of the Fortunate Fall is one instance; without our fall

there would have been no great mystery of redemption. Another

is that perhaps there is a natural tendency, i.e. the division within

Nature itself, seeking, as we noted from von Franz earlier on, to

enhance its own knowledge, to increase consciousness for its own

sake. In any event, as Suzuki insists, "there is nothing that can

hide him." All that hides him is that we have not yet experienced


Perhaps we have to wander by the stream and under the trees,

lose ourselves in the sweet palm-grasses of the swamps of our

desire and fantasy, in order to begin to reach him. No matter

where we go, to whatever theory or belief, or to every abstruse

and deviant sect, however wrong-headed we find it, the ox is

there. Suzuki, once more, says that when nothing can hide the ox,

"It is we who shut our own eyes and pitifully bemoan that we

cannot see anything (1964, p. 199)." This is surely true, because

the nose reaches the heavens and none can conceal it. And yet,

how is it that this same beast eludes us in our own experience?

How is it that we must make great effort, even despair at length,

before we can go beyond the traces? Is it not because this selfsame

ox wants us to do so? Does he not require us to pursue, to

sweat and to struggle, so that our finding will make the grasses

even sweeter, the hills even grander? In the reaching of the nose

into the heavens, does the ox not show us the way to search?

And now, indeed, we know that the ox not only is hard to find,

but is everywhere, and not only is he beyond our reach, but he

wants us to reach him, and without our attempt there is nothing.

For even if we had it all along, perhaps there was no one there to

know that we had it, and this, indeed, is what the ox desires. Yes,

we have desire and ignorance, and perhaps the ox, too, has desire

and ignorance? Suzuki would say no, and so would the religions

of the West, but perhaps one can conjecture the psychological

possibility without disrespect.

But we are only at Picture I1 and to speculate so is merely to

argue with the sutras, merely to note the vessels without actually

experiencing the ox. We are still in the state of "Seeing the



Picture III: Seeing the Ox


The boy finds the way by the sound he hears: he sees thereby

into the origin of things, and his senses are in harmonious

order. In all his activites, it is manfestly present. It is like the

salt in water and the glue in color. (It is there though not

distinguishable as an individual entity.) When the eye is

properly directed, he will find that it is no other than himself.


On a yonder branch perches a nightingale

cheerfully singing;


The sun is warm, and a soothing breeze

flows, on the bank the willows are green;


The Ox is there all by himself, nowhere

is he to hide himself;


The splendid head decorated with stately

horns -- what painter can reproduce him?


Now, at last, after wandering and not knowing, after reading

and studying and reflecting, we go beyond the traces, we come to

the experience itself. This, says Suzuki (1964 p. 199), is "the

awakening of 'a new consciousness'; it is the finding of the

precious animal which is no other than the man himself." But this

is not a new finding, it was there all along. It is there in all his

activities, everything the seeker does. It is not distinguishable (the

salt in water and glue in color) from the surroundings, it is that

quality which is inherent in all.

Well, our oxherd knew this from his reading and studying, how

is it different now? It is different in that he knows it is himself, or

better, his Self, and he knows it through experience. Now he

knows it by theUsound he hears," not by what he reads. He listens,

it seems. Does he hear the voice of God? Does the Self speak to

him personally now, just to him and to no other? Does he now

begin to hear his own language, the words of his own being,

calling him from within, just as he was seeking, seeking without? I

think so, particularly when Kaku-an tells us: "When the eye is

properly directed, he will find that it is no other than himself."

So, Kaku-an sheds the light that the eye must look in the proper

place. Is that not into one's being, one's own fantasies and dreams,

affects and strivings? Was it not the ox itself that was driving him

to the ox? Once more we think so, for how else can one know the

Self unless one knows the self? How can we learn the nature of

the totality unless we know our own? And there he is, in the

picture, revealed.

What is it that is revealed? The poet speaks of the "splendid head

decorated with stately horns." Indeed "what painter can reproduce

him?" He wears the beautiful crown of the divine, the horns of

grandeur, and there is no way to show his image. This reminds us

of the Hebrew word of Torah, enjoining us to produce no graven

image of the divine. We are commanded not to, nor to utter His

name, for there is no image, there is no word that can encompass

this grandeur and wonder and totality. Can the part truly grasp

the whole, or render it? Certainly not -- but we must try.

What is it, then, that is revealed here in the picture? No grand

head, but a homely behind! No kingly spiritual crown nor

impressive sound of the voice, but the vulnerable place of man and

beast, our hind-end from which come our excreta, our rejected

and unused, that of which we are unconscious. It is our shadow, as

Jung says, our own dark side. Is this not so when we truly

undertake the voyage of discovery of ourselves? Is it not our own

shadows and darkness that is first revealed? This is the wisdom

that the artist sees, when the poet looks elsewhere. One voice

knows what the other does not.

The rear end we discover, however, is not only our own, which

we apprehend all too painfully and sorrowfully, but that of the

Self itself. This ox, after all, is not only our own personal ox, but

the collective ox, the common content of the soul of us all. And

here the Master Kaku-an shows us truly and intuitively that it is

the dark side of God that reveals itself to us. All the sutras, all the

books, all the commandments, products of many minds, many

years, many devotions, show us the whole story, but they cleanse,

too, their own darkness, and it is hidden from us. It is only in our

own struggle, our own pain of dry meditation, of anger at pain and

discomfort, of bleak dreams and disgusting images that we come

to our darkness and, at last, the darkness of the divine as well.

"The dark night of the soul," another seeker tells us, is essential

before we can find the light. So suggests this picture, too.

All the same, however, we have at last found the ox. Once

seeing him, once knowing that he arises from our inner search,

our reflection and meditation, our fantasy and dream, we can then

know that the "sun is warm, and a soothing breeze blows." The

willows are green and the nightingale sings, cheerfully, for nature is

in harmony with the divine, indeed is the divine. We, at last, see

our nature, understand that what we share with all the animals

and plants is a cleansing process, that we all partake in materiality

and unknowingness. This realization, a gift to humans alone, is

the source of our spiritual struggle and path. No body, no true

spirit; no shadow, no true light; no dark side of God, no light side

either. Hard to understand, hard to accept (as we shall see even

with Suzuki presently), but there for us to see. The artist and the

poet, inspired, tells us the truth.


Picture IV: Catching the Ox


Long lost in the wilderness, the boy has at last found the ox

and his hands are on him. But, owing to the overwhelming

pressure of the outside world, the ox is hard to keep under

control. He constantly longs for the old sweet-scented field.

The wild nature is still unruly, and altogether refuses to be

broken. If the oxherd wishes to see the ox completely in

harmony with himself, he has surely to use the whip freely.


With the energy of his whole being, the boy

has at last taken hold of the ox:


But how wild his will, how ungovernable

his power!


At times he struts up a plateau,


When lo! he is lost again in a misty unpenetrable

mountain pass.


The hands of the youth are now upon the ox and the task of

training and discipline is upon us. Oh, how our desires are

primitive and unruly! Oh, how our laziness and the hugging of our

primitivity captures us. Our wild nature is unruly and refuses to

be broken, indeed. But, is this only our own nature that is so

resistive? Suzuki thinks so. He thinks that "Pictures IV, V, and V1

are misleading. It is really not the animal but the man himself that

needs training and whipping." This is surely true. It is our own

animal nature that must be tamed and trained, taught and

civilized. But is the picture truly misleading? I think not. The thing

that the youth (and we) have gotten our hands upon is the Self,

after all, and it is the Self, as well as our Self. What we have gotten

our hands on is the unconscious animal nature of God Himself! It

is that in Him which is also unruly, primitive, unconscious, as Jung

has shown so powerfully in his work, particularly in Answer to Job

(1952). We face the paradox that the Self, God, is in all nature, is

nature, and partakes both of its great beauty and harmony, and

also of its horror, disharmony, and wild disregard. It is the divine

in us, indeed, that needs transforming, but it is, at last, the divine

itself. This penetrating insight of Jung is the one that is most

difficult for many followers of a particular religious system to

harmonize for themselves. This is so, whether it is the profound

and appreciative Catholic view of a Father White (1961) or even, as

here, the view of the great D.T. Suzuki himself.

Why should this perspective be so difficult? I think it is because

Jung hit on the peculiarly alchemical character of the work with

the psyche, as he found it among those who had lost their belief in

the received religious tradition. For them, and for many of the

moderns who are "in search of the soul," (See also, A Modern Jew in

Search a Soul, Falcon Press, winter 1985) the work becomes the

redemption of the divine spark in nature, in their own nature, and

thus they are in the hidden and mysterious alchemical tradition.

So, even here, in a work which is in the heart of the Zen tradition,

a leading exponent sees the apparent clarity of the taming of the

animal as misleading. It is surely we who need the taming, but as

the pictures show, it is the divine itself. So, just as in the Rosarium

pictures, which Jung used to illustrate individuation and transference,

there is the dark power to be reckoned with, larger than ourselves,

yet abiding in ourselves. Here, too, there is the dark power to be

struggled with, tamed and even whipped, but we must also

remember that it is the other half of the longed-for totality.

How remarkable that this hint of the alchemical work (which is

even more apparent in the next picture) should reveal itself here,

in those times where the same struggle was going on in Europe!

There is, one thinks, a synchronicity of the spirit world-wide,

when, by dint of meaningful moment or development on a grand

plan, an Isaiah and Buddha and a Socrates are contemporaneous,

or when an alchemy of the soul occurs in East and West as well.

Kaku-an tells us more about this uncanny ox. He tells us that

the animal longs for the old sweet-scented field, that the divine

nature and our nature, too, longs to remain unconscious and

"natural." Our very attempt at consciousness, at the development

of the soul, goes against the grain. Yet, as Jung tells us from

alchemy, the work is both against nature, contra naturam, and with

nature, for it is our own nature itself that drives us to higher

consciousness. It is the hidden desire of the ox itself to push us, to

seek us, to tame us, and we tame him. This insight is what gives us

the permission, allows our audacity to "use the whip freely."

Without this insight, without knowing that we are both the one

who whips and is whipped, the one who commands and obeys, and

in so doing, a pupil and servant of the divine itself -- without this

awareness we are lost. Only then can we contain the overweening

pride, the hubris of such an act.

How wild the will, how ungovernable the power of this ox! At

times, he struts up a plateau. He struts, does he not? He does not

walk or run, but he struts. Like some proud and vainglorious cock,

he ascends. Here is the source of our own to-be-tamed pride and

inflation: it is contained in the divine itself. It is in our nature and

HislHer nature. We are chosen ones, or as Suzuki puts it

commenting on the previous picture: "Heaven above, heaven

below, I alone am the honored one." I am honored because I am

addressed, and I can only continue because I honor that which

addresses me.

In my struggle, it must be "with the energy of his (my) whole

being," it must command all of me. Do I seek my totality? Then I

must give my totality. Even when I do, the ox is lost again in the

misty, unpenetrable mountain pass. On the path of individuation,

upon the ascent to my own highest vision, I lose that divine spark,

that source of nature and vitality both within myself and beyond

myself. It is gone again, and not to be found. And yet, it appears

once more as I start at the beginning, at the perception of that

nether end, that bit of untamed nature which is overlooked. Even

when I don't look, the ox appears, for once I have glimpsed him, he

feels affronted if I neglect him; he comes seeking me, too.

The work is hard, though, and now we lose that initial

experience, when we first saw himlher (as in Picture 111) and felt

the serenity of nature, the nightingale cheerfully singing. The sun

may be warm, and the breeze blows, but in this condition we know

only struggle and agony and defeat, and achievement and victory

and surrender, too.

The work is hard not only because of us and of him, but, says

Kaku-an, "owing to the overwhelming pressure of the outside

world." What a modern, Enlightened thought is this! How much

of our time is spent in adapting, in coping, in facing and struggling

with the forces that present themselves in the outer world, when

we are oh so eager to struggle within! The God we seek and

struggle with within, we sometimes forget, is also there outside.

We learned already in the previous pictures that God is in the

sutras of tradition and there everywhere, the salt in water. It is

outside as well as inside, and when we have discovered the one, we

are hounded by the other. So does our work become doubly


But, no matter, we know, now, the place to look, the place to

struggle. For even when the outside world disturbs us, we can

look at our own reactions, struggle to be at one with ourselves in

relation to these disturbances, so there is always work to be done,

something to be tamed, a harmony to seek. We now at last have

what we have been looking for.


Picture V: Herding the Ox


When a thought moves, another follows, and then another --

an endless train of thoughts is thus awakened. Through

enlightenment all this turns into truth; but falsehood asserts

itself when confusion prevails. Things oppress us not because

of an objective world, but because of a self-deceiving mind. Do

not let the nose string loose, hold it tight, and allow no



The boy is not to separate himself with his

whip and tether,


Lest the animal should wander away into a

world of defilements;


When the ox is properly tended to, he will

grow pure and docile;


Without a chain, nothing binding, he will by

himself follow the oxherd.


Our picture shows the ox, tamed and tempered, dociley

followillg the youth on his tether. The picture shows success, but

the words reveal continuing struggle. The thoughts move,

falsehood asserts, confusion prevails, the animal wanders away

into a world of defilements. No easy task this. Why, we wonder?

Suzuki gives an answer. He says that the "habit of intellectualization,

or conceptualization which has been going on ever since

his 'loss of innocence,' is extremely difficult to get rid of. The

identification is something altogether new in his life. The adjustment

will naturally take time." This is helpful and enlightening. It is

intellectualization and conceptualization that has cut us off from

our own nature. This has resulted in a loss of innocence, a loss of

connection with our own nature, which is so difficult to overcome.

So, again a paradox emerges: we developed intellectually and

conceptually to advance consciousness; but to advance once more

in consciousness we must return to our non-thinking nature!

That is to say that we no longer identify ourselves solely with our

thinking nature. It is this which is problematical. It is not difficult,

perhaps, to merely regress and be an animal (though this, too,

becomes repugnant to our differentiated functioning), but it is

very hard to both return and advance, to recover our nature and

tame it.

The difficulty and complexity of this struggle may be the reason

why, in Kaku-an's series, six of the ten pictures, sixty per cent of

the process, portrays the image of dealing with the animal. Indeed,

the name of the series itself, Oxherding Pictures, tells us that the

central problem in our individuation is the recovery and taming of

our lost natures. Without this -- and this first -- there will be no

individuation. Without this, we may perhaps have a bodiless and

false spirituality, fit only for those who have no stomach (hara!) for

the real thing. Later on, in discussing the final picture, we shall

take up this issue of belly and what it means. Here, as we confront

the overwhelming importance of the ox, we understand that the

main chakra, or orientation of the Zen-Master and those of

similar consciousness, is at the belly, the hara where we touch life.

It is even where we approach death itself (hara-kiri).

We notice something more about this ox, now, that commands

our attention: it has undergone a whitening. From its dark initial

condition, it shows itself in a lightened state. That this is not just

an accident of printing is shown by the fact that a related series of

pictures, that of Seikyo and Jitoku (see Manual ofZen Buddhism, 1960

pp. 127-129 and the subsequent pictures), clearly and explicitly

expresses the process of the whitening of the ox. In that series, the

whole process ends with an empty circle, the emptiness which

Kaku-an (as we shall see) found insufficient to describe the

process of Enlightenment. In the Seikyo series, eight out of ten, or

eighty percent of the pictures, focus upon this cleansing, differentiating


It is from this fact that we can clearly and unequivocally link up

the Zen Enlightenment process with the alchemical work as

described by Jung. That transformation of nigredo (darkening,

unconsciousness) to albedo (whitening, cleansing) is described by

him in detail (in Psychology and Alchemy, Vol. 12, 1943, Mysferium

Conjuncfionis, Vol. 14, 1954, and in other writings). This long

process, that via longissima is also seen as the bulk of the work, to be

followed by the rubedo (the reddening with new life), the cifrinifas

(yellowing) and finally the cauda pavonis, the achievement of the

peacock's tail with the entire rainbow of colors which signify the


In our present series, the colors are not included. We have,

instead, the austere, black and white presentation of the process,

suitable for that equally austere yet life-filled process of zazen, of

sitting and meditating. There are, indeed, series which are in

color, but I am not familiar enough with them to contrast those

with the original set. The same austerity and side-wise reference

to sitting, zazen, is probably contained in the comment, "when a
thought moves, another follows.
. ." When we sit and focus upon

our breathing, our emptiness, it is indeed the thoughts which

come to disturb us, to push us away from our concentration. And

it is our mind that we are trying to tame, that unruly freeassociative

mind which takes us away from that moment of true

nothingness, in which there are no more thoughts, only the

stillness, which brings Enlightenment.

How different is sitting, the zazen, and its aim, from our modern

psychotherapy! Overcome the free-association, says our Zen-

Master. Go with the free-association, says our Freudian analyst.

Ignore the fantasies which arise, and let them go by, says the

Buddhist teacher. Focus upon the fantasies and ultimately dialogue

with them, says the Jungian analyst.

Does such instruction produce different results? It seems to.

For the Freudian, we find the face just after we were born, the

childhood desires and terrors which are father to the man. Our

consciousness is to overcome these, to arrive at the maturity of

full capacity to love and to work, to know the world and the psyche

as it is without illusion. For the Buddhist, it is the face before we

were born, and to discover our unity with nature, and our oneness

with all life. For the Jungian, it is both of these, the link with

collective, inner and outer, and the discovery of our Selves. So, the

Jungian might be the intermediary between the two; the psychotherapy

which aims at healing, love and work, and freeing from

illusion, but at Enlightenment, too. This theme will occupy us

once more at the end.

Let us consider, again, the words of Kaku-an, for the words, as

we have said, continue with the consideration of the process and

not, as the picture suggests, its conclusion.

Kaku-an tells us first that even the endless stream of associations

"turns into truth" when Enlightenment prevails, but this is not

the case when we are confused, uncentered, unknowing. So, it is

not the content, he informs us, or its flow that deludes us but the

place from which we relate to it. When we are centered, all is in

harmony and understandable; when we are not, confusion makes

it mere falsehood. Kaku-an is the great psychologist here. He is a

combination behaviorist of the cognitive variety, a Jungian, and,

of course, a Buddhist. Would that we could achieve now what he

saw four hundred years ago!

He also tells us that we are oppressed not by the outside world,

the objective world which we noted to be troublesome when we

discussed the previous picture, but because of our own selfdeceiving

mind. Again it is our attitude, our center from which the

confusion and trouble arises. These are hard words and wrong

from an extraverted point-of-view (it is the social order, capitalism,

communism, the environment, etc. which causes our problems),

but right for the introvert. But Kaku-an is right all the same, at

least when we are trying to deal with our own attitude, our own

contribution to the oppression which falls upon us from without.

If we can center, find the right relationship to it, then we are all

right. The secret is that we can only find the right attitude to "it"

and to "ourselves" when we include both, and just in the

proportion that each "it" and "us" demands -- no more, no less. It is

this, perhaps, that Kaku-an is referring to when he says, "Do not

let the string loose, hold it tight, and allow no vacillation." I read

this not only as an instruction in how to meditate efficiently, but a

statement of the psychological condition: hold tight to the Self as

it manifests, within and without; keep the event and the reaction

in its particularity and do not let go until the resolution, the

harmony, results. In either case, the advice is right, the medicine is

strong, and hard to swallow.

This is the theme of the poem, as well, expressed more

beautifully. Do not separate yourself from the Self, he advises,

lest the animal wander away into defilement. When properly

attended, the ox grows pure and docile, and finally -- and here,

with more of an intuition than an achievement, as we saw in the

first picture -- the animal, "without a chain, nothing binding, he

ill by himself follow the oxherd." What a promise this, and what

a task: struggle and hold tight, relax and let go! No wonder we

drive ourselves crazy in the search for Enlightenment and

wholeness! But a hint is presented once more. The ox will come by

himself when the time is right. He ultimately needs no chain, no

discipline, only a relationship. And, though it is only hinted at and

not expressed, we can guess that he will join us in this way because

he wants to himself and not only because of our urgings and

efforts. So, once more, Kaku-an holds out hope and direction.


Picture VI: Coming Home on the Ox's Back


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.


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?


"The struggle is over, the man is no more concerned. . ." Now

suddenly, we find that the boy has become a man. It is as if one is a

youth when beginning the struggle with the instincts, and is a

man when one has satisfactorily adjusted to them and to the

world. That is certainly how it is in society and culture: the

initiation into adulthood has indeed to do with the relation to our

animal nature. But here the process of initiation is also made clear

in the non-societal struggle in the spiritual world. Maturity of the

soul requires an inner struggle with our animal nature as a way to

Selfhood, and is concluded only when that is achieved. Is this true

also for women? Is one a girl until one has related fully to the

instinct? Maybe the imagery is different. Perhaps here the

Rosarium pictures and their implied qualities of relationship and

union is more germane. For girls to become women, in many

societies, happens only with marriage. It is the conjunctio in the

world which brings maturity. But then, again, perhaps it is not so

different for women in the spiritual realm. The great individuation

pictures illustrated in the Villa of Mysteries, and as described by

Linda Fierz-David (1957) suggest that it is the self-same struggle

with passion and the animal world which enables the woman of

spirit to come to maturity of soul. So, perhaps these pictures of

Zen transcend not only culture, East and West, but the malelfemale

polarity as well. That is for women themselves to decide.

Here we can view the maturation of the spirit in its apparent

finality: the struggle is over. The seeker is no longer concerned

with gain and loss. What an achievement this is! When can any of

us, in the West, transcend our endless striving for this and that,

our bottomless pit of desire, our mad mind, which our host the

American Indian finds as crazy? When do we. find our heart, our

earthy and rustic heart, our feeling for life and nature? Only when

we do so are we grown up enough to sing the songs of the village

boy, to feel free to express that youthful joy and optimism without

being identified with it. Then are we simple, once more, and

things are simple once again. The old Buddhist adage is here

proved: in the beginning of the path to Enlightenment houses are

houses, trees are trees; in the middle of the way, houses are no

longer houses and trees are no longer trees; in the end, houses are

once again houses and trees, trees. But they are simple again in a

new way, redemption has occurred.

The man is saddled on the ox's back, he is firmly riding, feeling

in contact with his instinctual life and that of the divine itself. His

eyes are not fixed on earth however. He is free. He is free to follow

heaven or earth. He is not just focussed on "gain and loss" as are

the rest of us. Connected with the nature of the divine itself, he

will no longer be enticed.

The poem tells us that he rides the animal and finds his way

home. Is it not the animal itself which leads the way? This is the

special wonder of this picture and these words. After all the

struggle, the bridling and taming and disciplining of the animal, it

is the ox itself which leads the way. The boy might say, "Look, Ma,

no hands!" The man now rides the ox, but is led by him. He only

plays his tuneful flute, he stays in touch with his feeling life and

expresses it as best he can; direction is left to the Self, to the nature

that he spent so much time relating to and taming.

Why are we so awed by this picture of "no hands?" Because we

in the West have had a very different tradition of dealing with the

animal, of coping with and expressing our animal natures. Think

of our tradition of bull-fighting. True, it is a spectacle and a ritual,

not a sport -- as some misguided souls see it. True also that the

entire performance has the passion of self-discipline and relationship,

just as we see here in the oxherding pictures. Most importantly

true is the fact that the Matador and the bull are in such intimate

relationship that at the final moment, when the bull is being killed,

we know that deep secret shared only by the sincere participators

therein: that man and animal are one, that Matador and bull share

the same reality, that as the one kills the other, he also is

killinglsacrificing himself. In this, therefore, and in the bullfight

whose repeated presentation is the last great ritual having its

roots in the Mediterranean past, we hear the echo of self-mastery

and self-sacrifice, the virtues of the taming of Western passion.

We may recall the religion of Mithraism, that great spiritual

direction embraced by the Roman soldiers of antiquity and the

nearly successful rival of Christianity in the early part of the aeon.

Mithra, the hero, as Cumont tells us in The Mysteries of Mithra,

(1956) sacrifices the bull of his own nature and carries a cornucopia

of its riches upon his back. Deep and meaningful is this, but how

different from the Zen portrayal! In our Western tradition The

King Must Die (Renault, 1962) and the bull must die, but in the East,

the bull lives, he guides us and is the basis of our being.

Perhaps this difference is an enlightening one for us all, in the

East and West. Until the modern age, China and Japan turned

within, sought perfection and differentiation in their own culture

and time, valuing the taming of their own nature. We in the West,

with our predatory birds (eagles) and our sacrificed gods and

animals, turned our captured energy into conquest, victory over

others and the world, and into subduing nature itself. Knowledge

of the world is our achievement, not knowledge of the Self. World

conversion is our success, not a transformation of Self. But, in the

most modern day, all this, too, is over. There is a cry to end the

bull-sacrifice in the West, an end to missionarizing, an end to

conquest, and a turning toward Self-transformation. And, in the

East, there is a dying of the tradition of Self-mastery and a turning

to the outer achievements and "isms" of the West. They are even

beginning to defeat the West at its own power game. So it is that a

Westerner turns to oxherding pictures in awe and appreciation.

Christianity may have failed to missionarize the world, but

science has succeeded in doing so. Some say that Buddhism may be

dying in the Orient, but it is alive and well in California and

Europe. In the end, we learn from each other, and perhaps the

synthesis is now building.

But let us return to the picture and the words. The heart of the

man is filled with a joy indescribable and, if we look at the ox, do

we not also see a smile, a head tilted upward, as if listening to the

ditty being sung, the tune being played? The joy of the ox, in

harmony with the man, is as great as the latter feels. In this is the

true union, in this relationship is the reconciliation, the resolution

of all our conflicts, all our disharmony. Would that we could know,

as the seeker now knows.


Picture VII: The Ox Forgotten, Leaving the Man Alone


The dharmas are one and the ox is symbolic. When you know

that what you need is not the snare or set net but the hare or

fish, it is like gold separated from the dross, it is like the moon

rising out of the clouds. The one ray of light serene and

penetrating shines even before days of creation.


Riding on the animal, he is at last back in his



Where lo! the ox is no more; the man alone

sits serenely.


Thought the red sun is high up in the sky, he

is still quietly dreaming.


Under a straw-thatched roof are his whip

and rope idly lying.


The poem here both carries us onward, and links us back with

picture VI, whereas poems of earlier pictures carried us beyond

the image at hand. After the fulfillment of "coming home on the

ox's back," the picture shows us where his true home is, atop the

mountain. The mountain is a symbol of his aloneness, having

achieved a "high-point" in his individuationlenlightenment. He

has "attained," as the Hindus are fond of saying.

The poem tells us, "lo! the ox is no more." What does it mean

that the ox is no more? Is he dead, vanished, or gone out of sight?

None of these, since he is now integrated into the man, or

transformed into the red sun or moon rising out of the clouds. The

ox is "forgotten."

Kaku-an's words tell us that the ox is symbolic (and this known

in the fifteenth century!) and that the dharmas (justice, law,

practice) are one, namely unified. We thus learn that our struggle

with instinct, with desire, with passion, with gain and loss was all a

vehicle, a method, perhaps even a"snareU or "set net." All this was

so real when we were struggling, but it is just illusion now, as we

sit peacefully, contentedly, serenely upon the mountain top. We

know, now, that theories, techniques, even images, are but

vehicles and what we want is the "hare" or the "fish," the reality of

the experience in its definiteness, concreteness. When we know

this, it is gold from dross, alchemical transformation of the valued

part from all the surround. East meets West in transformation and


Suzuki tells us that "picture V11 completes the process of selfdiscipline;

it marks the culmination of a struggle that has been

going on even after the awakening of a new consciousness." Now

we understand that "coming home" was not enough; "being

home" was necessary.

Our man sits in meditation, even prayer, perhaps with his

clasped hands before him, as he gazes up, at that "moon rising out

of the clouds." What meditative joy in his reveries! What peace

emerges in that mountain eyrie! His view is immense from that

mountain, from that paper-thin walled cottage, in that deliciously

sensitive oriental landscape. He sits alone, serenely. No more whip

nor rope, no more discipline and effort and struggle. He has

forgotten the ox, forgotten his struggle, forgotten even what he

was searching for. Here it is.

But still, the red sun is high up in the sky, consciousness shines

brightly around him. He is still quietly dreaming; he is still at one

with the dream world, the inner world, as a friend, not a foe. The

consciousness that now obtains is like theUone ray of light serene

and penetrating"; it is the consciousness that was there always,

"even before creation." He once more connects us with the Selfpotential,

the face before we were born, and we knoiv it now as a

Self-actual, as a presence. The Self is no longer projected on the

ox, as we would say. Neither is there a need for the animal kind of

awareness. This has its counterpart in the Kundalini picture series,

(Avalon, 1958). In each of the lower chakra representations, there

is an animal quality: an elephant, a kind of crocodile-devourer, a

ram, a gazelle-like creature. Finally, at the level of the throat, the

elephant which began at the muladhara (tail end first as happens

also in the oxherding series), becomes transformed into a white

elephant, and then at the forehead, where the one-eyed Ajna

reins, there is no animal at all! I think it was Jung who somewhere

remarked that this would mean that this level of consciousness

does not require a bodily basis at all, it is psyche transcending. So it

is here.

Sun and moon are also present, those polar twins of the

alchemical series, and the mountain, too. Individuation continues.

The process is not yet over.


Picture VIII: The Ox and Man Both Gone Out of Sight


All confusion is set aside, and serenity alone prevails: even the

idea of holiness does not obtain. He does not linger about

where the Buddha is, and as to where there is no Buddha he

speedily passes by. When there exists no form of dualism,

even a thousand-eyed one fails to detect a loophole. A holiness

before which birds offer flowers is but a farce.


All is empty -- the whip, the rope, the man,

and the ox:


Who can ever survey the vastness of heaven?


Over the furnace burning ablaze, not a flake

of snow can fall:


When this state of things obtains, manifest

is the spirit of the ancient master.


What more might we in the West expect from such a process? In

Picture VI, we found serenity and oneness with our animal nature

and union with the longed-for God-head itself. In picture V11 we

went even beyond the wonder of instinct and found serenity and

stillness. But now, "serenity alone prevails; even the idea of

holiness does not obtain." A truly Eastern notion this: there is

development beyond the holy, a condition in which there is no

longer any worship nor seeking at all, not even after the divine!

We no longer seek the Buddha, and quickly move away from

where there is no Buddha. A true selflessness is to be found there,

in our Western sense, where even desire for the divine is


Suzuki quotes for us in connection with this picture, a Western

mystic, Meister Eckhart, in which the latter says (p. 202, 1964),

"He alone hath true spiritual poverty who wills nothing, knows

nothing, desires nothing." Even the desire to fulfil1 the will of God

is an obstacle here. Now we understand the statement: "serenity

alone prevails." When not even I am serene, then "serenity alone

prevails." The ego is gone. Not only the ox, but now the man, too,

has "gone out of sight."

It is this condition that Suzuki refers to when he states that a

second awakening has taken place. What now obtains is absolute

nothingness, symbolized by a empty circle. But this circle is not an

ordinary one. It has no limits, because it is not circumscribed; it has

no boundaries, and no actual center. Its center, really, is everywhere.

At this point, we are informed, we enter ontology and find the

mystery of the inward way (p. 200): "In spite of its eternally being

empty (sunya), [it is] in possession of infinite values. It never

exhausts itself." For us in the West, that definition is the mystic

one of God. God is a circle whose center is everywhere and

circumference nowhere, the mystic informs us. So here East and

West meet, not in the definition of the divine, but in the

experience of it. All numbers meet in the number beyond number:

zero, the circle.

How are we to understand this from a psychological point of

view? Jung was fond of commenting that the Eastern way of

saying that the ego is totally obliterated made no sense to him.

Who was it, he asked, that experienced this divine, if not the ego?

If Jung seems to be right, how can we reply to the statement that

when there is no form of dualism, no one, not even a thousandeyed

one, can find a loophole? There needs to be some observing

consciousness, someone to report the experience, or else it does

not happen. The resolution of this apparent paradox, it seems to

me, comes from the poem itself.

"All is empty," says the poet, "the whip, the rope, the man and

the ox." All partake of sunya emptiness, and none is more or less

important than the other. All, in short, are part of a whole. This

whole itself is nothing and everything, as is the sunya which is an

ever-replenishing source and is also empty in itself. Without all

the parts, the whole is nothing; without the whole, the part is

nothing. Together, then, the part and whole are everything and

nothing. Truly. Translated into psychological thought, we can say

that the symbol of wholeness, the Self, is the mandala, the circle as

here. This Self contains the ego, as well as the rest. There is,

therefore, no distinction between Self and ego, between whole

and part, and that here, at last, as Suzuki says, comes the "second

awakening," where the relativization of the ego -- and the

individual Self, too! -- occurs in such a way as to say that all are

part of the larger and largest whole.

"Who can ever survey the vastness of heaven?" the poet says,

and this the largest whole. Who, indeed, except heaven itself.

Psychologically, we would say that heaven, or the Self, is doing the

surveying, and the ego is its vehicle. When there is no distinction

between ego and Self, not even holiness occurs. That power of

creativity of the blazing furnace melts any possibility of its

dimming. And when the ego is truly in service of that wholeness,

"manifest is the spirit of the ancient master." One might say that

at this point the original spirit of the process of Enlightenment

shows itself: ego and Self are one.

What is not shown in this picture, and what perhaps is the most

difficult part of the process, is the way to the dethronement of

that ego, that changing of the center of consciousness -- as Jung

would say, from ego to Self. That process would entail another

series of pictures with the ox now representing the ego, rather

than the instincts. That battle is a much more crucial one for

Westerners than Easterners, as Jung has shown us, since the

Orient has tended, in the past, to hold a less distinct consciousness

and to connect with the Self at the expense of the development of

individuality -- at least in our Western sense. Kawai, the Japanese

Jungian analyst (1981), has validated this understanding.

For us, in the West, we are continually taken over by one

archetype after another when we undertake the journey, and

often when we do not even start. Inflation is a natural consequence,

Jung tells us (in the Two Essays, 1953) but it is our peculiar suffering

all the same. Therefore, to come to this condition of wholeness, of

the mandala in which ego and Self are one, is a great achievement

indeed! Many may draw mandalas and copy gurus, but this

activity, like the holiness before which birds offer flowers, is but a

farce. The achievement requires a lifetime (lifetimes, in the

Eastern sense.)

If we try to go deeper into this difference of East and West in the

process of seeking Enlightenment, we can do no better than

examine the vehicles. For the East, the method is meditation and

the achievement of mindlessness, no content, nothingness. For

the West, the method is prayer, or in psychotherapy, active

imagination, the passion of relationship and union, as we have said


Going back one picture, to number VII, may give us a clue. The

poem therein speaks of no longer needing theUsnare" but the hare

itself. One can look upon this from the methodological point of

view and understand the snare or set-net as the technique of

meditation itself. Once one has had the experience of Self, then

meditation -- even the great and wonderful vehicle of the way -- is

itself no longer necessary. When you have the animal, when you

have the reality, then the method for achieving it is no longer


It is at the point of the experience, as we have mentioned earlier,

that East and West meet. Meditation is the Eastern way, and

particularly the meditation of one-pointedness; whereas imagination

is the Western way. Both lead to union, and when this is achieved,

differences vanish. But the methods also include the goal: meditation

with mind-lessness and ego-lessness on the way makes it easier

for union at the end; imagination with consciousness and discrimination

on the way makes union more difficult at the end.

The wonder is that what emerges is so much alike: clarity,

serenity, joy, ego-lessness (in the sense of non ego-centric). Yet

we know that Enlightenment, however vast, is always only partial

when one remains in the mortal body. There is always a new ox to

find and to tame, a new circle to come to. As long as we are alive,

our wholeness is relative, and it is only for moments or periods

where "not a flake of snow can fall." The via longisima is life-long.

This means that the ego is always once more working, acting and

being acted upon. The ox and man, though gone out of sight,

generally come back in another process or path, brief or long. But

once the process is undergone, one is never quite the same, the

memory is always there. The "face before you were born," when

experienced in this life, can always recall us, remind us, even when

everything else is empty.


Picture IX: Returning to the Origin, Back to the Source


From the very beginning, pure and immaculate, the man has

never been affected by defilement. He watches the growth of

things, while himself abiding in the immovable serenity of

nonassertion. He does not identify himself with the maya-like

transformations (that are going on about him), nor has he any

use of himself (which is artificiality). The waters are blue, the

mountains are green; sitting alone, he observes things undergoing



The return to the Origin, to be back at the

Source -- already a false step this!


Far better is it to stay at home, blind and

deaf, and without much ado;


Sitting in the hut, he takes no cognizance of

things outside,


Behold the streams flowing -- whither nobody

knows; and the flowers vividly red -- for

whom are they?


How can one go beyond the mandala, the condition where ego

and Self are one? Indeed, there are oxherding series, as we have

seen (and as is shown in this book), where the process ends in just

such a condtion; sunyata prevails, emptiness and fullness in the

circle is the end of all. Yet Kaku-an, and not he alone, shows us

that there is more to the process, that the condition of emptiness

and even fullness, does not end the cycle.

What do we see in this next stage? An image of nature itself, a

tree in its blossoming and its twisted trunk, almost racked. In it,

however, are two more circles, now embedded in the very trunk of

that tree. Could this be the sequel, intended or not? That Nature is

beyond the abstraction of the circle? In any event, that is how I

read this further stage in the development of the process. I see the

fullness and life in the blossoms, the deadness and emptiness in

the circles of the trunk. The opposites are once more united in the

life of the tree.

This symbol of the tree is also one that transcends East and West.

For us, in the West, there is, most importantly, the Tree of Life in

our own main sutra, the Bible, reaching a differentiation and

elaboration in the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah. That same

Tree of Life was cut off from us, "in the beginning," when we fell

out of paradise. A sword of fire separated us from it. But

mysticism tells us that we can come once again to that tree when

we discover, as Jesus also tells us in the later book, that "ye are

Gods," that God and person are one. So, we have the techniques of

the climbing of the Tree of Life, in Western mysticism and the

occult (Regardie, 1969, 1984).

But the tree is also a world tree, and the tree of Hinduism, thus

transcending East and West. That tree, with its roots going deeply

into the earth and reaching up into heaven is a symbol for our own

individuation as well. Heroes are born from it; gods die on it; we all

live in it. So, perhaps, the tree is an even higher form than the

circle. We reach that circle like the sun and moon themselves,

paradoxically. We rise in consciousness, yet we fall onto the earth

and into the play of life in that seamless whole of the tree. The tree

has blossoms and dead wood, beauty and emptiness; it is a living

symbol for wholeness.

This is not the view of Suzuki, however. Once again he thinks

that we may get a distorted idea from the view of the tree as

Origin or Source. We might take it as another dualistic statement,

with the man unattached and watching the maya-like transformations

going around him. This might be true (p. 200, 1964) in

Sankhya philosophy, "in which the Purusha quietly sits unmoved

and unconcerned with the Prakrit going through an infinite series

of antics."This is far from the case in Zen, Suzuki assures us. In a

very beautiful and world-loving way, might I say, he asserts the

value of action:


For the man will never be found "sitting in his hut." Not only

does he take cognizance of things going on outside, but he is

the things, he is the outside and the inside. Nor is he deaf and

blind. He sees perfectly well even into the interior of an atom

and explodes with it wherever it may fall regardless of its

effects. But at the same time he sheds tears over human

ignorance, over human follies and infirmities; he hastens to

repair all the damages he produced, he contrives every

possible method to prevent the recurrence. He is forever kept

busy doing this, undoing that.


What a heartfelt commitment to human action! What a profound

realization that even the Enlightened one is endlessly making

blunders, causing damage, and must spend half of his time

repairing the evil he has done personally, as well as mourning and

having compassion for human folly. One thinks of when and

where Suzuki said these words. It was in the Switzerland of 1954,

not so long after the terrible events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Could not this have been in the backof his mind when he spoke of

not being deaf and blind, and seeing perfectly well "even into the

interior of an atom"? I think that Suzuki was quite aware of the

paradox of human good and evil, in a very personal way, when he

added that with the explosion of this atom, that the Enlightened

man "explodes with it wherever it may fall regardless of its

effects." That he can rise above this experience of evil done to his

people, yet not be blind to mankind's follies on all sides is great

enough. To take on his own charge of repairing the damage he has

himself done puts him into a deep brotherly relationship with the

best that the West has to offer. Jung, particulary in his profound

vision of the evil in the divine situation and man's place in it (e.g.

Answer to Job Vol, 11 1952), is similarly grasped and made aware.

But perhaps SuzukiJs passion is really less connected with this

picture, despite its stillness and the non-assertion recommeded by

the remarks. It seems as if his words are more relevant to picture

X. Indeed, at the end of his passionate statement, Suzuki says that

the Enlightened one is "forever kept busy doing this, undoing

that," and that this is just what "daubed with mud and ashes"

means. This "daubedness" belongs to Picture X, to which we shall

turn shortly. First, however, we should look more kindly at the

words of Kaku-an in this picture.

Kaku-an tells us that the man has never been affected by

defilement, from the very beginning. Here we learn that even the

process itself may be an illusion. We were never out of harmony at

all, we never left "home."Not only is it better to be blind and deaf,

and to stay home and not complain and not have the audacity to

start on the path to Enlightenment, but even if we think so, we

have never even left. It is a false step, an illusion to even think so.

What then, does this mean? Have we not struggled with the

sutras, found the ox, disciplined him, given him up, sacrificed our

ego, done all those wonderful and terrible things that have shown

us the truth?

Apparently not. The waters are blue, the mountains are green.

"Things undergo change." Maybe that is the point: changes are

just happening, even those we think that we are accomplishing.

Even those changes and efforts perhaps are an illusion of ours: we

think that we are doing them, accomplishing them, but it is Nature

itself that is doing them. It is Nature, here shown in the wonderful

tree, that is expressing itself and we are foolish to think that we

did it, to chalk up to ourselves such special achievement, egocentric

or not. The poet hints that the whole process is one of

Nature itself. Does not this strike at the same wisdom that

alchemy tells us when it says that it is nature that battles nature, it

is nature that overcomes nature? Are we not part of that natural

process of life finding itself, becoming conscious of itself? So that

beyond the abstraction of the circle and its fulness and emptiness,

a circle which is not found in nature, is the reality of Nature itself,

in which that process manifests. In Picture V111 we are told that in

the circle, "manifest is the spirit of the ancient master." In Picture

IX, perhaps, we can say "manifest is the spirit of nature, Herself."

In this, I would think, is the recognition of the feminine

principle at a deeper level, an appreciation of which must be fully

apprehended before this process is completed. The circle, indeed,

is a feminine symbol, showing wholeness at an abstract level; the

tree brings us into Nature Herself in all Her complexity, and the

seeker must stay here, in his inwardness until helshe knows this.


Sitting in the hut, he takes no cognizance of

things outside,


Behold the streams flowing -- whither nobody
knows; and the flowers vividly red
-- for

whom are they?


I would venture to say that he remains sitting and inward until

he can behold the streams and the red flowers, without knowing

for whom or where they go. In so doing, he sees that Nature -- and

he as a part of Nature -- has its own Being and aims that he can not

fathom. In this day before the creation of the theory of evolution,

he can grasp the wonder of nature, in himself and in life, and find

that he can not be other than himself, that from the beginning and

in the middle and in the end, he is himself within the totality of

existence. It is Nature who is expressing Herself. And that is the

answer to the koan, for whom are the flowers vividly red? It is for

Nature Herself.

One thing remains to be addressed in this picture. It is the

puzzling statement which follows the understandable, "He does

not identify himself with the maya-like transformations (that are

going on around him). . ."After this comes, "nor has he any use of

himself (which is artificiality)." What does this mean, to have no

use of one's self? Is it a repeat of the notion that the ego itself is

valueless, just a part, like all other parts of the whole? Or is

something else intended?

A possible answer may be found in the Zen story of the tree

which remained in a forest when all others were cut down. When

this tree was queried as to how it was able to survive when the rest

were cut down, it replied that it "had no use for itself." All the

other trees were beautiful, had good wood in them, were needed

for houses, etc., but this tree was neither beautiful nor valuable. It

was "unworthy" the tale says. It was of no value to anyone, no

threat to anyone, unworthy, and so it survived. The deeper

meaning we can guess was that it was of value only to itself. Thus

does this tree coincide perhaps with the tree of our picture, it is

worthy only to itself. So does the man have no use of himself. Is he

of value only to himself?

This reminds one of the statementJnWhat others thinkof me is

none of my business," -- another variation of this paradox of being

of no use and full of value at the same time. Such truths are

relative to time and person: balm or poison, depending upon the


That such a paradox can be true in the transpersonal dimension,

larger than that of the personal existence, is suggested, once

more, by the fact that it is a tree here that is portrayed at the

highest level, higher even than the circle. The whole transpersonal

character of the transformation process is thereby portrayed, just

as it is in the Rosarium pictures, where the entire series begins with

symbols of nature -- sun, moon, snake, etc. -- along with a well or

fountain. Somewhere we learn through these two portrayals of

the EnlightenmentlIndividuation process that it is not for ourselves

("no use") but for nature (God), that we undertake it. The paradox

unravelled, of course, is that when we are a conscious part of this

wholeness, sharing that work of transformation, we are blessed.

When East and West meet in this experience, therefore, we can

understand even the highest paradox of all: God and no-God, is



Picture X: Entering the City with Bliss-Bestowing Hands


His thatched cottage gate is closed, and even the wisest know

him not. No glimpses of his inner life are to be caught; for he

goes on his own way without following the steps of the

ancient sages.

Carrying a gourd he goes out into the market, leaning against

a staff he comes home. He is found in company with

winebibbers and butchers, he and they are all converted into



Bare-chested and barefooted, he comes out

into the market place;


Daubed with mud and ashes, how broadly he



There is no need for the miraculous power

of the gods,


For he touches, and lo! the dead trees are

in full bloom.


We come now, as Suzuki says (p. 201,1964), to "the final stage

of the drama." For Suzuki, the final stage is that the cottage is not

only shut, but cottage and gate are gone. No one can locate where

the Enlightened one is. "Yet he is ubiquitous; he is seen in the

market place, he is seen on farms, he is seen with the children,

with men and women, he is seen with the birds and animals,

among the rocks and mountains. Anything he touches grows into

full bloom, even the dead are awakened."

In short, the final stage of the drama for Suzuki is one in which

the Enlightened one returns to the world and ordinary man, but

has bliss-bestowing hands. He contrasts this bare-chested and

barefooted figure of our picture with that of Christ in the Last

Judgment painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The

latter, says Suzuki, is almost impossible to approach, much less

touch, for he is majestically and vigorously passing out judgments.

"If you come near him, you would surely be torn to pieces and

thrown into eternal fire." This is not the case with the Bodhisattva,

in Picture X, who is so genial. What a difference, it seems, in the

two images of the Enlightened One in the world! Perhaps Suzuki

does not understand (or understands too well!) our Western

struggle with duality, since that same Christ, full of judgment in

the Apocalypse of John (like his Father in the Old Testament!), is

also the Lamb. We, too, have our variety of images of Enlightenment

and service of the Holy One. And we can understand very well this

Easterner contrasting the Zen image of the Enlightened figure

with our Western version, in which our version comes out rather


The difference, perhaps, is in the degree and quality of

humanity which emerges. Our usual Western image of the God-

Man may be all too kind, redemptive, and far from ordinary man.

He is not subject to the the passions that plague us. He longs to be

with the ordinary man, but one has the feeling that even though

he seeks the company of "winebibers and butchers" he is unlikely

to get drunk or enjoy women in a carnal way. The center of the

Eastern Enlightened one, as Suzuki tells us, is in the belly, he is a

belly-man. Our Jesus, on the other hand, centers in the heart; He

is a God-man of love. Belly-centerdness is quite instinctive, as

Suzuki tells us, and grounds itself in the earth, in life. Our Christ-
consciousness, on the other hand, as manifested in Jesus and in

love, is in life, but looks toward heaven, toward the transcendence

of life and death. Both images have "bliss-bestowing," healing

hands, but our Zen figure is almost fat, whereas Christ is usually

portrayed as lean, even'gaunt. No cross of the suffering of the

opposites prevails in the Enlightened one -- the sine qua non of the

God-man. Instead he carries a big cornucopia on his back, an

unending source of bliss. Does this carrying of the cornucopia

hearken back to the Mithra figure of Western antiquity, who also

carried the sacrificed bull upon his back, equally laden with riches?

This may be the brother of our Christ figure, who remained more

with the symbol of conflict and resolution, and thus has less of

Eastern wholeness than he might. After all, He must unite being

God and Man, whereas our Zen hero, has "no need for the

miraculous power of the gods," nor, we might add, is he a god,


Other differences are apparent in the carrying of the gourd, a

symbol of sunyata, emptiness. Yet Suzuki quotes the great Christian

Mystic, Meister Eckhart, in saying (p. 202, 1964):


A man shall become truly poor and as free from his creature

will as he was when he was born. And I say unto you, by the

eternal truth, that as long as ye desire to fulfil1 the will of God,

and have any desire after eternity and God, so long are ye not

truly poor. He alone hath true spiritual poverty-who- wills

nothing, knows nothing, desires nothing.


Eckhart's Enlightened man is close to the Zen man in this. The

figure here carries only a staff which, according to Suzuki,

indicates that he carries no extra property at all, for he "knows

that the desire to possess is the curse of human life." So, our two

figures are alike, yet different, as like and different as the

experience of East and West.

From the psychological point-of-view, we see two ways of

viewing and experiencing the Self. In the West we have much to

learn from this Eastern representation. When we are with our

smallness, we can see ourselves serving the Self-within as our

larger totality, like Christ, the God-within. When we are with our

"bigness” (or ”smallness in another way) we can see ourselves in

the undivided totality of the Buddha-man here represented.

Luckily, we need not choose, only experience.

Let us look a bit more at other aspects of this tenth picture. We

note, first all, that the figure shown here is no longer the youth of

the early pictures. Neither is he the "man" who looked the same

but was transformed into spiritual manhood by picture VI. We

now see an old man, and realize that this ten-picture process is a

life-time path, not a single event. To finally arrive at this

destination (and we should not even have started out or thought

to leave, as we are reminded in Picture IX), apparently requires not

only meditation, study, and life-experience, but also just takes a

long time! This surely can be attested to by the poor souls (all of

US), East and West, who have been on that path for lifetimes!

Why should it take so long?-It just does, one is inclined to

answer, in a Zen way, perhaps. But another answer comes from

the realization that the resolution of such profound opposites

entails work not only in the complex nature of the human being,

but, as we have said before, in the paradoxical nature of the divine

principle itself. It is this principle -- as we experience it in image,

thought and deed -- that is going through evolution and slow

change. As if to underline this fact, our final picture once more

gives us the symbol of the tree, as it did in Picture IX. Now the tree

frames the Enlightened one, and its blossoms go forward to the

other person in the picture, the young man.

Much can be made about this new appearance. All through

these pictures there has been either one boy or man, or no-one.

Now we suddenly find two figures, the Enlightened one of age,

and this youth meeting him in pleasure and joy. Is it not close to

the truth to conjecture that this young man is another version of

our original seeker, as he looked in the first picture? And that a

function of our Enlightened one is, indeed, to help just such

creatures as he was in the beginning to advance on their way? So it

seems to me. The student becomes Master, and instructs new

students. Thus is the process carried onwards.

The Tree of Life covers both seeker and teacher, and the long

path is like nature itself, slowly growing with concentric rings of

development, showing hardness and softness, resistance and

flexibility, sweet-smellingness and decay. Both seekers, master

and student, carry emblems of that same Tree: the one his staff of

chosen poverty of spirit; the other his ordinary staff carrying his

few possessions, symbol of his actual poverty in the same area. A

happy meeting and a happy union. "He and they are all converted

into Buddhas."

It remains for us to contrast this last picture of the ten with the

last picture of Jung's Rosarium series. In the latter, there is a

hermaphroditic figure who represents the union of King of

Queen, a single figure combining all that has been achieved. In the

beginning was only the vessel, the bath, the well. All through the

middle there was the pair of King and Queen, opening, uniting,

struggling, dying. At the end, there is the Empress, the union of

male and female, with the accent on the feminine. In the

oxherding series we began with a person. This person was joined

by the animal, in which there was struggle and resolution. Then

the animal was gone, the person was gone, nature remained. At

the end there is achievement (the Enlightened one), and relationship

(the student, the others). It seems to me that again we discover the

contrast of the methods, East and West. In the East, aloneness is

the way, meditation the method, and, in the end, relationship with

others. In the West, the vessel is relationship itself and the

capacity to stand alone is the achievement. There is a useful

complementarity of the two, it seems to me. The same aloneness,

however, ultimately adheres to both. "He goes on his way without

following the steps of the ancient sages," is said of our Master, and

so can it be said of the Western Master. Easy to proclaim, hard to

attain or deserve.

All the same, when the "end" comes, the "dead trees are in full

bloom," and we experience the "bliss-bestowing hands" of such a

person, such a moment, such a relationship. What is not stated

here, but is said by Suzuki in the last picture, as we noted, is that

the Enlightened one still does damage and still tries to repair the

damage that has been done, his own or that of others. "He is

forever kept busy doing this, undoing that."So, then, we are in the

right company when we are with winebibbers and butchers, for

such are we, too.



What remains to be said after this all-too-brief yet "noisy"

Western peregrination through the oxherding series? First of all,

what wants to be said is a statement of thanks to Kaku-an and to

Suzuki for their enormous gifts to us in the West of these

enchanted pictures, poems and commentaries. In these days of

psychic disintegration and breakdown of society, we are deeply

indebted to those ancient representations of Eastern wisdom

which can illuminate our individual paths and give us solace to

know that many of our problems in such a quest were already seen

and known in different climes, cultures and religions. The unique

clarity of Kaku-an's words and pictures are especially Enlightening.

We have seen, more than once, how this series complements the

understanding of individuation as portrayed in the Rosarium series,

interpreted by Jung. The two series together high-light the

wisdom of the one against the other and bring into relief what

each culture or way has achieved. The two are truly complementary

and one hopes that this comparison contributes to the further

marriage between the spirits of East and West.

Secondly, the very portrayal of the individuation process in

both sets has perforce cast some reflection on the surrounding

society and cultural spirit. The question arises as to what this

individuation process means for the culture itself. Jung, in the

epilogue to his discussion of the transference in the Rosarium

series, says: (par. 539, 1946):


The symbols of the circle and the quaternity, the hallmarks of

the individuation process, point back, on the one hand, to the

original and primitive order of human society, and forward on

the other to an inner order of the psyche. It is as though the

psyche were the indispensable instrument in the reorganization

of a civilized community as opposed to the collectivities which

are so much in favour today, with their aggregations of halfbaked

mass-men. This type of organization has a meaning

only if the human material it purports to organize is good for

something. But the mass-man is good for nothing -- he is a

mere particle that has forgotten what it is to be human and has

lost its soul. What our world lacks is the psychic connection; and

no clique, no community of interests, no political party, and

no State will ever be able to replace this. It is therefore small

wonder that it was the doctors and not the sociologists who

were the first to feel more clearly than anybody else the true

needs of man, for, as psychotherapists, they have the most

direct dealings with the sufferings of the soul.


Since Jung's day, a quarter of a century and more ago, the

cultural breakdown has continued and the "isms" and cliques have

increased. There is no indication that his hope for a community

based on the psychic connection has gained ground either. As I

have pointed out elsewhere (Spiegelman 1984), there is no

apparent increase in connectedness among religious communities

or even psychological communities, for that matter. Jungian

societies and clubs, for example, are no more "soul" communities

than any of our traditional groups and societies, and suffer the

same back-biting, gossip, power-struggles, etc. that we are

accustomed to in other groups.

Jung's hope was for the individual dealing with his own soul,

withdrawing the projection of his shadow, and seeing to his own

integration and wholeness. Both of our picture-series show us

how this is done and also show that society is, perforce, involved.

The oxherding series ends in a return to society and a full

participation in ordinary life. The Rosarium pictures not only

suggest that the individuation process requires partners (the

couple), but Jung asserts that this process is not even possible

without it (par. 445 ff, 1946). Kinship libido, (the necessity for

close ties), and endogamous union (the need to integrate the

opposites spiritually and internally), are of equal importance, says

Jung, and neither can happen without the other.

Our pictures, though, show the Western individual being whole

and alone, while our Eastern series show a return to society.

Eastern society, perhaps, has experienced slightly less disintegration

than the West, if we use crime rates, wars, expansionism,

revolution and the like as measures, but they are not very far

behind us. Are we to conclude that only the continual work of the

individual on himself is of value, as some Jungians aver? The fact

that projection continues so forcefully among Jungians suggests

that the unconscious is "trying" indeed to separate people, as well

as connect them, so that the evidence would favor that hypothesis:

we are compelled to differentiate by the thrust of the unconscious

itself, which makes for separation, through misunderstanding,

and through the process of enemy-formation. We would not be

ready, then, from the apparent evidence, for this newer society or

group with "soul-connection."

My own experience would tend to agree with the previous

formulation, however painful it seems. Not only ongoing groups

and societies, but even those formed with the express intention of

building the "new world" of psychological understanding or soulconnection

routinely fail. I would think, then, that it is probably

too soon to even speculate about that society of the future in

which soul-connection would have primacy, along with the value

of individuation and Enlightenment as a path. All that we can do is

tend to our own process, which, perforce, thrusts us back into life,

as Suzuki so beautifully expresses. I would add, however, that

nature, with its deep and powerful instinct of kinship-libido, will

not stand still for this continual disintegration and that She will

experiment with us all, in the form of group-conflicts, and in the

construction of new situations. Else what is the meaning of

picture number X of the oxherding series and number 1 of the

Rosarium series?

As I write these lines, I sit in Los Angeles in the Summer of 1984

and note that the Olympic Games. held in this city, seem to be just

such an experimental ground. The upsurge of joy and patriotism

experienced by many millions accross this country as the flaming

torch was carried from state to state and passed from hand to

hand, startled almost everyone. No such feeling for this country

had been expressed since World War 11. Yet this patriotism is in

connection with a non-warlike event in which nations of the

world participate and both individual excellence and group pride

are at stake. I think that this event is just such a living symbol of

what the psyche may be trying to produce. By this I mean that the

psyche is trying to form a world-community, which many have

realized for a long time, and which was visually seen in thet'planet

earth" experience when the first astronauts landed on the moon.

This world-community, apparently, is both a whole (of nations)

and separate (glorification of difference, of separation of cultures).

But it also values supremely the performance of the individual,

going beyond all nations, states and groupings. It is a union via the

flesh, (sport), at this point, and successful, despite the politicization

and the withdrawal of nations over the last few Olympics. Yet

those who withdraw suffer, not the participants, and even

terrorism can not kill the event. The arts, too, are included, in the

cultural Olympics and destined, I believe, to have an even greater

role in future celebrations.

It is striking to me that conscious political attempts at unity, e.g.

the United Nations, should be corrupted and almost defeated -- as

was the League of Nations -- by parochialism, selfishness and

narrow-mindedness, whereas the Olympics, begun earlier and

resuming an ancient ritual, should both grow and gain in stature.

It is tending to produce world-brotherhoodlsisterhood itself, as

we can see from the increased participation of all races and both


So there is at least some evidence of the psyche's attempt at

producing social structures in which both the individual and the

group are valued. But the Olympics is no fosterer of consciousness

nor Enlightenment, and we must remain quite alone in that

quest, just as the Masters of East and West have told us. We take

solace in our process, however, and find our kinship libido where it

occurs, as an unexpected and valued meeting of individuals, both

in the concrete world and in the world of the spirit where the inner

temple, church, and synagogue reign, and where the Rosarium and

the Oxherding Pictures have both their origin and their goal.



Avalon, Arthur, The Serpent Power, Ganesh & Co., Madras, 1958

(original edition, 1918), 508 pp. plus approx. 100 Sanskrit pp).

Cumont, Franz, The Mysferies of Mifhra, Dover, New York, 1956

(original French edition 1902), 239 pp.

Doran, Robert M., S.J. Jungian Psychology and Christian

Spirituality (in three parts) Review for Religious, Vol. 38, 19791 pp.

497-510; Vol. 5, pp. 742-752; Vol. 6 pp. 857-866.

Fierz, Linda, Psychological Reflections on the Fresco Series of the Villa of the

Mysferies in Pompeii, Kristine Mann Library, A.P.C. of New York,

1957,190 pp.

von Franz, Marie-Louise, Introduction to the Infeprefafion of Fairy

Tales, Spring Publications, 1970. 155 pp.

Jung, C.G. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works

Vol. 7, 1953. Original 1918 & sequel editions.

Jung, C.G. Psychology of the Transference, in Collected Works, Vol.

16. Original, 1946.

Jung, C.G. Answer to lob, in Collected Works, Vol. 11. Original,


Jung, C.G. Mysferium Conjunctionis. Vol. 14. Original 1954.

Kawai, Hayao. "Violence in the Home." lapan Quarterly. Vol.

XXIII, No. 3, July-September 1981, pp. 370-377

Miyuki, Mokusen. Various articles, passim, in this book. 1985.

Regardie, Israel. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. Falcon

Press. 1104 pp. Phoenix Az. 1984.

Regardie, Israel. The Tree of Life. Samuel Weiser, Inc., NY. 1969.

Original 1932. 285 pp.

Renault, Mary. The King Must Die. Pantheon Books, New York,


Standard Dictionary of Folklore, edited by Maria Leach. 2 vols. Funk

and Wagnall, New York, 1949,1196 pp.

Spiegelman, J. Marvin. The Tree: Tales in Psycho-mythology. Falcon

Press. Phoenix Az. 1982. Original 1975. 464 pp.

Spiegelman, J. Marvin. The Quest. Falcon Press. Phoenix Az.

1984.175 pp.

Spiegelman, J. Marvin. The Love. To be published.

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Years Later."]ournal of Religion and Health, 1984, Vol. 23, No.1, pp.


Suzuki, D.T. Manual of Zen Buddhism. Grove Press, New York,

1960. Original 1935. 192 pp.

Suzuki, D.T. "Awakening of a New Consciousness in Zen," in

Man and Transformation, Papers from Eranos, edited by Joseph

Campbell, Vol 5, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1964.

Original 1954.

White, Victor. God and the Unconscious. World Pub. Co., New York,

1961. Original 1952. 287 pp.





A Fictional Portrayal Of

The oxherdkg Pictures

By J. Marvin Spiegelman



The Ronin, at times addresses himself to the Knight and the

Arab, whom he discovers at the end of his journey, at the Tree of

Life. In this book, it is not essential to know their tales, but for

those who are interested see, The Tree: Tales in Psycho-Mythology

(Falcon Press, 1982).



I am a Ronin -- or rather, I have been a Ronin, and am no more. A

Ronin, my friends, in our language, is a warrior, a samurai who

has no lord. He wanders in search -- because a man without a

master, a warrior without a lord, a disciple without a guru, what is

he? Do not answer, for you two men, Sir Knight and Sir Arab,

already know what I mean. I can tell this by your stories, although

I am puzzled by much of what you say.

I only know that I am here with you now, in that place that is

called Eden for you, Sir Knight, and Paradaizo for you, Sir Arab,

and that, in truth it is the same for me -- although we call it "The

Pure Land."It is indeed a miracle for us all to be here, as you would

call it, Sir Knight. I am loathe to call it that myself because the

miraculous has ilo special place in my view. There is no need for

such a word since all life is miraculous.

My view on the matter is expressed by one of our Masters, who

said, "I do not rely on God; I respect Him." You can see at once, Sir

Knight and Sir Arab, how we differ.

We have come together for a purpose, it seems. We have come

here to understand one another and to embrace one another. This

we can do only after we have told our stories. I am desirous of

telling you my tale, but first I must tell you, Sir Knight, and you,

Sir Arab, some of my reactions to your stories. You, Sir Arab, have

already done this for the Knight, with your first two parables,

which I find most interesting. Thus I must tell you my own

reactions, and then get on with my own tale.

Compared with my experiences, Sir Knight, yours seem more

complex, with emotions and divisions which seem different from

my own. For me, there is only one triangle, not two. My

experience of myself consists of my "self" with all its faults and

sufferings, the saving force of the Buddha, and finally, the

experience or the reality of the Wordless realm: Emptiness

Sunyata, Suchness, Naturalness; whatever the word. Just one

little triangle.

I have a difficult time feeling such symbols as God, Goddesses,

Angels, Snakes. I understand bits and parts which parallel

Buddhistic thoughts. Such as the idea of the incompleteness of

God without man. Amida's Vow, for example. He chose never to

seek absolute perfection while even one sentient being suffered.

Or Amida, too, as a parent (because of its emotional meaning, not

metaphysical), and human beings, his children. But Amida can't be

a parent without children.

Most of all, the union of opposites is a central idea in Buddhism.

Actually, it is the only important idea. There are numerous

opposites which are stated as: This world is, as is, the Pure Land.

The world of Birth, Suffering, and Death is, as is, Nirvana.

Defilement and Ignorance is, as is, the Supreme Understanding.

Man and the Absolute Truth are, as is, One.

In your story, Sir Knight, from the Buddhist standpoint, the

snake, the witch, the goddess, the horse, the forest, the God, the

ocean, the maiden, the flashes of light, and even you, Oh Knight,

are all One.

For you, Sir Arab, I have only compassion. Your way seems

simpler and more direct to me. Maybe you are more Oriental, like

myself. I too have had to deal with the animals, as you will see,

though our solutions are different.

Gentlemen, it is strange. I feel close to you both because our

goal is the same and the intensity of our drive is the same. But I

feel different because you want to know and experience all the

parts and thus bring them into union, while I go from the

standpoint of denying everything, even the denial itself.

You know, I really have nothing to say. Life is like a sword,

glinting in the sun. As simple as that, there is nothing to say. And

we live on the edge of that sword; one slip and one meets death. To

be able to die without fear is all that matters. Until then, just drink

your sake and do what you must. Wander the earth, like a lion. Like

a lion, die when your time comes, leaving no trace. For a man who

had nothing to say, I've said quite a bit! Perhaps I have something

in common with my Western friends, after all. Ha!

Now, to my own story.

As I have said at the outset, I have been a Ronin, a warrior

without a Lord. It was not always so. When I was a youth, I

apprenticed myself to a school of swordsmanship. We were many,

we students, and we served our Lord and teacher devotedly. I was

a reserved type, and accustomed to staying by myself. I was

inclined to be cold and distant, even though my burning heart was

filled with desire and emotion. It is often so with us, a fact which

Westerners are not able to grasp very well.

I trained long and diligently. I struggled so hard, in fact, that I

was often exhausted and in despair at my inability to reach my

goal and master my task. In time, however, I grew very proficient

-- so proficient, indeed, that I was able to defeat all my fellow

pupils. At length, my Master acknowledged that he had nothing

more to teach me. He blessed me and told me to go forth for

further enlightenment. I bowed and went forth in joy and

anticipation. I traveled throughout the land and sought encounters

with swordsmen of every shape and talent. Sometimes I was

defeated and sometimes I was victorious and with every encounter

my skill grew. I was able, in time, to find other Masters who took me

further in my craft. After many years of effort, I was able to

perfect myself to a degree which seemed satisfactory.

It came to pass, however, that when I returned to my ancestral

home, I was honored, but deceived. My skill and talent were

beyond question, but my former Masters grew old and narrow.

They were jealous, it seemed, of what I had accomplished and

were in fear of losing their power. As it is, sometimes, with the old

who cannot bend gracefully, they turned ever more rigid. I

sorrowed, for it is in the nature of my land to respect the old and

do everything possible to avoid the shame of losing face. I tried to

keep my peace and do what I could to advance our common school

of swordsmanship. In time, pupils sought me out as a Master.

They went not to the Elders, and it was for this, I think, that the

Old Ones grew even more jealous and irritated. Gossip increased,

and I know not what was said of me.

When the time came for me to be fully acknowledged as a

Master in my own right, the Elders banded together and looked

piously down their noses at me. They nodded their hoary heads

and said that I was not ready, that I was more a butcher than a

swordsman, and so on. At first, I could not believe my ears, and I

laughed. When I saw that they meant what they said, I became

both furious and disconsolate. What could I do? Thy refused to

reason or discuss. They looked for my submission, without even

being honest enough to openly demand it. They hid in their

pomposity, for they were, no doubt, afraid of my swordsmanship.

There was nothing to do except leave the Masters and the

School and wander alone in the world. A Ronin. A warrior

without a Lord. A disciple without a Master. A Master without


I wandered for a long time. After a year or so, I was no longer

furious at the deception and betrayal by my former teachers, and

was able to realize that what they said had a grain of truth in it. I

was Master of my craft, but not Master of myself. I was, indeed,

still attached to fame, recognition, power -- in short, to desire. I

knew full well that the swordsman's craft was nothing without

Enlightenment, and that I was, in truth, immersed in the illusion

of this world -- bound up with ignorance and desire.

I resolved to retreat into the forest, where I could meet myself

alone, without a Master, without assistance, and without a light.


I retreated into the forest where I remained alone for many days

and nights. At first, I could think of nothing but my own despair. I

was alone and lonely. This was a shock to a man like myself, who

had been very used to thinking of himself as a lone one, who can

wander the world without need of anyone. Ha! I thought, this is

salutary in itself -- I must have been attached to the idea that I am

alone and a lone one. My secret desire for fame and recognition is

no better and no worse than this secret illusion that I can be

utterly non-attached to people.

So, I accepted my loneliness and despair and came running back

to my friends. I acknowledged all this without losing face and thus

could return to my isolation and aloneness in a new way. I

understood that one needed one's aloneness and isolation, along

with one's need for family and friends. My mountain retreat was

no place, but a state of mind, and a condition to which I could go at

any time.

With this, I decided to look at the state of my soul. It was clearly

an animal, a kind of ox or bull. I was well aware that my main

preoccupation over many years had been to somehow cope with

that animal inside me which was black as black can be, and wild and

unruly and given to fits and starts and wanderings of all sorts.

That animai of my wildly ignorant and lustful soul! Every desire

that I have ever known was contained therein. Even the desire not

to desire was contained in the hairy beast of that wild and snorting

creature. Yes, I had seen him in every state: asleep, lusting,

chaotic, well-ordered and disciplined, wild and adventuresome,

frightened, joyous and aggressive. I did everything possible to

tame him. I restrained him with ropes. I whipped him with as

many lashes as I could manage. Yes, I had done all these things. I

had even given him his full way. To which he responded with

whims and chaos and hungers which immediately set the rest of

my soul into guilt and despair all over again.

I was no stranger to the animal of my soul and all his

movements. So this time it was no small surprise to see that he had

whitened considerably! That was extraordinary! After all these

years of taming and fighting and struggling with this passionate

bull of my soul, with all his rages, lusts, disregardings --now I saw

him, indeed, whitening, whitening, whitening. How was this


Now, I had to reflect. All these years of my effort and now when

I simply accepted my needs to be with people, and accepted my

needs to be alone, as well, now my poor bull was whitening. I could

only conclude that he had whitened because I had accepted him!

But I had also to conclude that I could accept him because he had

whitened. Yes, a koan, indeed. The sound of one hand clapping. It is

the same. The bull whitens because you accept him, and you

accept him because he has whitened. So that is what those old

foolish Masters were always talking about? Well, so be it. I will not

challenge it; here in front of my nose is a whitening Bull! Indeed, I

shall have to see how it is that he whitens. Will he wander off

again? Shall I follow him? Shall I let him go? Should I discipline


Oh, there is despair! All the rights and wrongs, all the shoulds

and shouldn'ts. Then my bull is black again, and one must start

from the beginning. How will I ever learn that what is, is what

matters. How will I learn to accept that I cannot accept? Oh, oh!

There he goes, down and around and biting his own tail, and I

whip him and defeat him, and he laughs and is morose, and I am a

fool once more! Ha!

Now I simply stay with him. There he is, white and black, with

the rope tied into his nostrils, but the rope hangs loosely. He looks

at me; I look at he. He smiles, I smile. I go sit upon his back. Will he

accept me? I sit, comfortably. Then he senses my anxiety, and he

throws me. I am back on the ground, and he laughs. I laugh as well,

but I beat him again. He groans, and I laugh. He laughs and I groan.

He is not yet ready. I am not yet ready. I cannot sit upon his back,

but I can walk with him, and by his side. This I can do.

So, we walked together for many days. I held the reins very

loosely -- so loosely at times that it was as if I did not hold them at

all. Often I would look at him to see how he was. Now, when I

smiled, he smiled back. That in itself told me that he was a most

remarkable bull-ox. A smiling bull-ox? Yes, that, too, is like the

sound of one hand clapping, or where your lap goes when you

stand up.

I rejoiced: the Smile of the Bull-Ox! Now I laughed. I laughed

and laughed and laughed. Everything was becoming very amusing

to me. Was I going mad? No, surely not. The cosmos was a very

great joke: It was the sound of a Bull-ox smiling.

Now I could sit and play my flute. I played at first carefully and

delicately. I did not want to stir up this smiling bull-ox. But no, had

I forgotten? Music can charm the beast, and so it could, and so it

did. I played sad songs and mournful ones, and I wept. I played

happy songs and I laughed. Then I sang. I sang every song I knew,

and many that I did not know, but simply made up. My voice was

first parched and squeaky, and too loud and too soft. It needed an

oiling, or a tempering, just the way that my sword did. I tempered

it, with sweet water and wine, did I temper it. Heated rice-wine,

how softly it goes down the gullet! How delicate it is! How little it

affects you! Until you stand up and are required to sit right down


But such a fuss about my needs! That is too demeaning of the

swordsman! With that, the bull turned black again, and snorted

and ran about, and kicked me and made me very nervous indeed.

You know of such bull-oxes in the West, do you not? Yes, of

course you do. I had forgotten. You, Sir Knight, surely know of

that tradition of the vaulting of the beast, and you Arab-San, you

know full well of the tradition of the slaying of the beast. Yes, that

is how you are, are you not? You master and you slay. Yes, I know

that you understand it as a way to master yourself with grace and

charm and courage. But do you love the animal? No, you love only

to slay it, and eat it, or sacrifice it.

I cannot say you nay, for I, too, have fought this creature and

have longed to slay him. I cannot slay him, for I am slain thereby. I

cannot tame him, unless I am tamed. He and I are one. But being

one is nothing if I cannot mount his back and walk with him

peacefully home, playing the tune upon my flute. That I long to do.

That desire is illusion, too, and down and black he goes, and down

and black I go too.


Will you listen black-white ox?

Will the music calm you?

Does your ear harken to its sound?

Or do you fear I'll harm you!


You are right to fear, you know,

For I am blacker still than you.

You are only a beast,

An animal, fancier than me.

But I have a mind that will not be stilled

Deadlier by far than thee.


But we can not be parted:

Neither you from me, nor me from It.

And if I can not be parted from me.

Then neither You from It.

So fear not, oh ox.

For two are one, and three are one

And the saving force of the Buddha is

Upon us.


Many days we wandered, the bull and
I. Of course we wandered

together, for we could no longer be parted. Now I saw him

whitening, whitening, and I was joyous. Then I saw his whitening

was too white, as if all the life and joy were going out of him, and I

grew worried, lest my bull become a cow and just be content to

chew the cud all day. At this, my bull laughed. Yes, he laughed

indeed. To you it might sound like a snort, since it comes from my

bull and not from your own, but to me it was surely a laugh. A

great deep laugh, that began in the belly and worked its way up

and out. As if he were to say, "Oh, my master, you have tried to

tame me and make me good, and now when I am, you grow

irritable and think me too tame. Who is it that must be tamed?

Hunger of a soul? Or power-tyranny of a master?"

Thus it was that I imagined that my animal spoke to me. I,

indeed, could imagine it, could I not? For he was and is the animal

of my own soul and who, if not I, can know his language? I listened

to the animal of my soul and I ruefully agreed with him. The tamer

must be tamed, and if there is no love, there is no point. Thus the

flute. Ah, to play a flute without love is impossible, is it not? I

played once again, but aside and near him, my ox-bull friend, not

astride him.

I did not know why I did not try and ride him once more, but I

waited. Then I saw. What did I see? I saw a cat leap upon his back. I

saw a man dig a goad into his side. I saw him teased by a cape. All

this I saw. Ashes! said I. I have always thought that the whitening

of my bull, his taming, has always to do with me. Now I see. There

are those others, those cats and goads and people and capes.

My ox-bull does not know what hits him. In a moment, he is

snorting and raging and stuck and does not know who has done

this to him. Then they say. "What a wild bull! What a vicious

fellow! My!" I do not know it either, and lament that it is all my

fault. Oh, precious bull, friend of mine! I have forsaken thee.

"They" have been able to fool me and thee. Whether they have

wanted to or not. Oh, good bull, we must become canny, you and I.

The willow on the bank is green, and can just stay that way, but it,

too, can be crushed by a boot. Bull, you must see and smell and

hear. Ah, now, that is the reason for all those sense organs! Was I

blind? Indeed, I was! I thought that all his sense organs had to do

with inner vision alone! Ah, what a fool, what a foolish fool of a

fool am I! Yes, these senses are to tell him when there are cats and

goads and brutes and capes about. It is enough to know that he

screams because he has been pierced!

Ah, brave bull! Now we dance, you and I! Let us dance, you on all

fours, I on all twos. We dance, for I have discovered it. I have

discovered what every fool in the world has already known! Ah,

congratulations to me, and now, I will listen to thee, friend Bull.

When you snort, I will guess it is because you have been hit!


Ah, brave bull, you do not speak.

And because you do not, I am slow to understand.

And so slow am I, that I am more foolish yet.

And you go down, and I go down, and we neither of us know.

What has happened to us both.


When the ox-bull and I completed our dance, I took him down

into the world again with me. I was ready to test my new insight

and to see if, indeed, I could ride on his back, get off again, and be

aware when he was being stabbed.

We walked peacefully into the city, and no one remarked about

my bull and myself, for we all have ox-bulls, have we not? We all

agree not to pay attention to each other in this regard, do we not?

It is all so that no one will really criticize us for our animal souls, is

that not true? I believe it to be. It must be added that the ones who

criticize most are, in reality, quite unaware of their own animal

souls. These, poor things, are either old and dead, like the elders,

or have masked their animal souls beyond any hope and thus are

resentful that any other animals are alive. Very sad, but painfully

true, I think, don't you?

No matter if you agree or not, my ox-bull and I came into the

marketplace to see if we could be accepted. Sometimes I did it

angrily and badly, sometimes elegantly. Then there were those

who shook their capes at him -- they were hungry for games and

competitive events. I was tempted to bring out my sword, but

realized that that was no longer an issue at all: I had to protect my

bull without provoking another and be cat-like, cape-like or goadlike

in return -- if I could. Sometimes I could and sometimes, I

could not. Ah, was that it? Was I now really so free and detached

that I was free of the desire to be non-attached? With that, my bull

fell down in the mud, I atop him, and muddy, too. Now I laughed

and laughed, and my bull laughed too.

Now see me there, can you? I am walking peacefully in the

marketplace atop my ox-bull. I am playing the flute peacefully, and

I laugh. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry. Sometimes I am

angry, sometimes I am peaceful. The bull falls down and the bull

gets up.

I drink when I am thirsty, I eat when I am hungry. Now and then

I sleep, and am as lazy as can be. Now and then I have desire, and

now and then I hear fear. Fear is what I hear -- or desire is what I

hear. But I hear and do not fear -- or rather, I hear fear and hear

desire, but I no longer fear desire. Do you know what I mean?

Look at the rose! How it grows! Listen to my tune as I walk and sit

on the back of my bull.


Oh! Ox-bull, I love thee.

Oh! I know thee.

To sit sweetly upon thy back --

No reins.

To quietly walk home --

No reins.

Or to fear with thee and

follow that --

No reins.

Your snout turns upward to

my tune.

My flute turns downward

to your rhythm.

Is it noon, with sun aloft?

Or night, with moon serene?

Ah, ox-bull, what does it matter?

Man and Bull are one.



Now, the animal has gone out of sight, and I sit alone, atop the

mountain, looking at the darkening sun and misty moon. Rainy it

is, and cloudy. Nature is sad and beautiful. Yes, you surely know

how our nature is, for you have seen the paintings of our Masters.

Nature copies the paintings of our Masters, does it not?

It is nice, to sit serenely, with whips put away. Now despair has

taken me over once again. It is not the animal, poor soul of a

bull-ox, who has nagged me and tormented me and driven me and

kept me from my peace. No, it is not he. Well, let me say, in

fairness, that it is no longer He, this bull-soul of mine. No, not He.

Nay, it is me. . .Yes, yes, yes. It is the I, the me, the one who speaks,

in his God-Almightiness. That is the one who puts me in despair.

What a pipsqueak is the little ego, pompously and vainly sitting

atop it all. Thinking that it can, or should, lead the animal at all.

Yes, the animal has gone out of sight, all right. But the Man is still

here, the Man that I am! The vain and stinking man that I am. Ah,

this I saw in the Elders. Their vain, pompous, little pretensions,

lording over their fellow creatures, as if they knew, at all, what is

best for another, or how he should be! Ah, and that awful little

creature is, of course, me, too. It is I that is vain, and ambitious,

and cruel, and it is, save us all, the "I" that wishes to retreat from

the "I".

Let me fall away from myself. Let me bury my head 'neath the

mat, 'neath the wood of the pillow. But I cannot escape myself.

Wherever I look, I find myself. It is the I who seeks to escape. It is

the I that I find when I do escape. It is the I that I see in thee, no

matter how I disguise it and change it and move it and account for


Oh, give me my sword, for now I know what to do with it! Oh, I

must plunge it within -- take it into my belly and rip and put an end

to this Me -- this bloated little me. Death, you are not to be feared,

you are to be welcomed as the ender of this meaningless and

pompous little kabuki drama of mine. Silence! Even my tongue, as

it speaks, continues the proclamation of the I. Silence, tongue,

Silence! The one who proclaims silence, who demands it, is also

the pompous little tyrant. Oh, oh, oh! The groans come out of my

belly, as if the sword were already within. The groans are not from

pain of the wound, self-inflicted, but are pains that self inflicts

them. Where can I flee from self? Where can I go? I follow me


Has it always been so? Was it this that Gautama endured? Is it

this that leads them to hold up one finger? Or a flower? Or to keep

one's finger to one's lips? Or to slap the other in the face? A

thousand ways of saying, "Do not ask me, for I do not know! Not

only do I not know, but if I were to speak, I would already show

that I do not know, and that this pompous little ego of mine is

already thinking and proclaiming that it knows."Yes, surely these

great and wonderful Masters knew that. The demon of it all is the

"I", the little me. No, not your I, but my I. As I say it, I proclaim the

specialness of My "I". Oh, pain, oh, agony, oh wounds of the soul

much greater than that of the flesh!

Where can I go to escape me? Where can I hide? No use asking

the question. For the questioner is always I.

Let me turn to you. If I look at the you, then, perhaps, I escape

the I. So, I look at you, and what do I see? Ah, it is already finished,

because it is the I that questions what it sees. Even if I were to

question it another way, it could only report that it is the it, is the

it, is the it, is the it, into an eternity of its that are I's.

So then, if it cannot be escaped, then let us love it. Ha! Now I

escape by calling me "us." Like a fancy court. Or a school of

swordsmen, all contained within the One that is Me! Oh, your

Lordship of Myself, must I now address you as a plural, as a school

of Lords? Fine, another way of illusion and self-deception. Oh,

most great and glorious and pompous little ego! I bow down before

you, for who could possibly be great enough to bow before you

and be received by you, than you yourself! It is not enough that I

touch my head to the floor to you, I must be totally flattened.

There, does that please you? . . .No? It does not? Because it is still

only the I that does it? Totally flattened or totally flattered -- it is

the same!

Let me run screaming into oblivion!

Will death, then, do it? Will that beloved state dissolve once and

for all this sated samurai self which seeks self and self alone? No,

surely not. For the wheel of samsara will continue. Life after life,

kalpa after kalpa, aeon after aeon, until all karma is dissolved. So,

then, pompous little man, if not this ego, then another, and

another, and another. Until the sands of time are all piled up on the

beach of eternity.

Nothing, then, little Ronin; nothing, then little Samurai;

nothing, then, little nothing, except to accept this pompous little

ego of yourself. Nothing to do but accept it. What was it that the

great Master once said: "One day you will find that the one who

needs all your care and love is yourself." Ah, now I see what it is

that he meant. That is what he meant, he meant -- that is what he

meant. Now, I can sing my song. Shall I sing it? Yes.


The great little "I" shall love

The great little "I" shall love

The great little "I" shall love

The wicked little "I".

The great little "eye" sees the wicked little "I"

The great little "eye" sees the wicked little "I"

The great little "eye" sees the wicked little "I"

It sees and is blind to itself.

The great little "Eye" needs the wicked little "I"

The great little "Eye" needs the wicked little "I"

To see.

The wicked great "Eye" sees the good little "I"

The wicked great "Eye" sees the good little "I"

The wicked great "Eye" sees the good little "I"

And stabs itself with the sword.

Weep not, great Eye. Cfy not, little I.

And who is this who says, "Weep not, cry not"?

Is it not another "I"?

No, it is not another "I".

No, it is not. It is not.

Who is it then?

And who is it then, who asks?

It is Nature who asks.

It is Nature who asks.

It is Nature who asks of itself.


I repeat: It is Nature who asks,

It is Nature who asks.

It is Nature who asks

Of itself.

And who is this who says, "I repeat"?

It is "I", of course, it is "I".

Do you understand?

Do you understand?


I do; I do.

Eye do; Eye do.

Aye, do; Aye, do.

And there, way up in the air,

There it is: A circle fair.

Sunyata: Suchness

Mandala: Muchness.

And Man has Gone out of Sight.


A tree stands in the forest.

Its trunk arches and bends.

No miracle. All do it.

But see: How one side of trunk

Grew round,

And other side of trunk,

Grew round,

And both meet again,

Making a hole.

A hole, is it?

Or a whole?

An empty nothing of everything,

In the middle of the tree trunk.

And that is what is meant

When we say: The tree is treeing.


A flower sways in the wind.

Its petals hold onto its powder.

Does it love itself?

Like a woman stroking her breasts?


As the roots love the ground.

Little roots: fine flower.

Great root: gross flower.

Root of the flower.

Roots of the tree.

They sway and bend and arch.

And seek their Source.

Up into Heaven, down into Earth.


And that is what is meant,

When we say: The flower is flowering.


The painter sees the tree-hole,

Though he is blind.

The painter hears the flower,

Though he is deaf.

The painter smells his art,

Though he has no nose.


He tells us all,

Though he can not speak.

And man is a painter,

Is he not?

And knows the sound of flowers,

The smell of visions,

The words of pictures.


And that is what is meant,

When we say: The painter is painting.


For man is manning

And trees are treeing

And life seeks its goal;

Which is: to be.

The bee is beeing,

Why can't we?


The Source.

It speaks:

Where, in the thunder of the Name,

Is the ghost?

The one who speaks without body?

Does he exist?


Apart from Nature?


Nothing, then is supernatural?

No, all is natural.

And the best must be Super-Natural.

What is most natural, is.


Even anti-natural?

Yes. Even anti-natural.

For nature has its opposites,

Nature is its op-o-sits.

Strange word, listen:

Op-look! 0-oh! Sits-be!


And that is what is meant,

When we say: nature is naturing.


So I came down from my mountain, and no one knew that I had

been away. No one knew at all, at all -- no one knew at all. That, Sir

Knight, is a miracle, I grant you. That is the saving force of the

Buddha that is upon us.

For when He is with me and I am He, I have bliss-bestowing

hands, I walk with my laughing face, and paunchy belly, and I am

at home with wine-bibbers, vagabonds, and tramps. As well as

warriors and teachers and geishas. And wives and children and

ants. We and they are all Buddhas, are we not? Yes, we are.

Buddha and his Bo tree, and you and your Tree of Immortality.

And I? Yes, I. Now, I walk without a sword. Now I carry a staff,

and a lamp, and people come to me for bliss and enlightenment.

What do I tell them? I say, "Go away, there is nothing to know!"

For now I know that what the Old Masters have said is true: There

is nothing to know. I also know-and this the sad and wonderful

part-that we all have to find this out for ourselves and in our own

way and in our own time, and many times over, and with many

gurus, and with no gurus.

So, come my friends, Sir Knight and Sir Arab, drink with me and

embrace me, as I embrace me, as I embrace thee. For my tree is as

yours, Sir Knight, and my animal is as yours, Sir Arab. My

triangle, too: My self with all its faults and sufferings, the saving

force of the Buddha, and Sunyata: the suchness of things. My

triangle, too.

Look, look, see!: The Great Circle of the Rising Sun, Setting

Moon, and Empty Hole! You see it there in the trunk of the Tree?

It can contain your Star, but need not. It can contain your Crescent,

but need not. It is all one, as I have said, and we have said. So, my

brothers, I salute you as Buddhas!