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October 21, 2008


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Nancy Compton

This morning I awoke from a dream where I was studying with a monk (I believe it was the Dalai Lama) as he explained this principal to me through the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. I woke thinking what on earth was he trying to tell me. I am not a buddist but open minded to all religions. In my dream he wrapped me in the robes of a monk and I felt incrediably safe and warm. There was also a friendly snake that came eye to eye with me, I wasn't afraid at all but pleased that it "liked" me. I found your site when researching the idea of the fable with the Dalai Lama. I am one of those people who is an all or nothing person - so this is definately a lesson I need to learn. Thank you so much for the incrediable webpage - I will be a frequent new visitor.

Barry Briggs

Hi Nancy,
Thank you for reading Ox Herding and for your nice comment!

When someone wears formal Buddhist robes, we say that that person has donned the "robe of liberation." The robes themselves have no special power, of course. But the mind that knows to put on Buddhist robes is the mind of liberation. This vast, spacious mind only wishes to wake up and help all beings - snakes, bears, and humans.

And the job of helping all beings is indeed an "all or nothing" job - because there is so much profound suffering in this world that we must give it our all.

Thanks again!


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  • Zen teachers sometimes use the Ten Ox Herding Pictures to describe the path of awakening. Within this metaphorical framework, the ox symbolizes the secretive, unruly human mind.

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