We're lost in the midst of life.
Confused and distracted
By unnamed rivers and distant mountains,
We fuck up again and again.
Deaf and blind,
We respond to no creature.
The usual interpretation of the first Ox Herding image is that of a young man in search of something unseen.
However, I cannot honestly say that, before encountering the dharma, I was on a quest. Rather, I was fully absorbed by the world of dust - so fully absorbed that dust was the world. What ox?
Here's the poem by Kuòān Shīyuǎn that traditionally accompanies this image:
I. Searching for the Ox
One aimlessly pushes the grasses aside in search.
The rivers are wide, the mountains far away,
And the path become longer.
Exhausted and dispirited.
One hears only the late autumn cicadas
Shrilling in the maple woods.
You can go to the first post in this series by clicking here.
Image by Yokoo Tatsuhiko
Shiyuan's Poem from The Oxherder, by Stephanie Wada