Zen Bunny and the Ten Bulls Part 5: Taming the Bull

Zen Bunny is halfway to Enlightenment!  Or at least halfway to getting drunk on the street corner of the marketplace.  Hey, that’s not cynicism, it’s foreshadowing…

Here is the whole series so far, followed by the links to the individual posts which have more background and commentary.

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Zen Bunny and the Ten Bulls:  

A Cute Adaptation of

the Traditional Ox Herding 10 Woodcuts

See the individual post links for background, references, and commentary.

Part 1:  The Search for the Bull

Part 2:  Discovering the Pawprints

Part 3:  Perceiving the Bull

Part 4:  Catching the Bull

Part 5:  Taming the Bull

Commentary for Part 5

Oftentimes what looks like the most spontaneous and natural performances are the result of incredible discipline and long training.

Our ‘new’ dog, Xander, is almost 3 years old.  I’ve spent a huge amount of time training him to be tame, friendly, and well-behaved.  He gets called a ‘good dog’ quite often when we’re out.

I’ve had neighbors who never trained their dogs.  Endless barking, destructive behavior, and even dangerous violence can result from neglecting to put in the time to do basic obedience training.

Yesterday I told my wife, “Just think, only a couple more years of being really strict with training and we’ll have a REALLY good dog!”  Oh, it’s been so much work.

But perhaps not as much work as learning to control one’s own mind.  They can go hand in hand, and that’s what the Zen Ox Herding pictures mean to me.  Often the external disciplines, whether training an animal, getting good at a sport or martial art, refining a skilled trade such as carpentry or computing, go together with internal discipline of focusing the mind and reducing distracting, wandering thoughts.

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The original fifth bull woodcut and text, from Paul Reps’ _Zen Flesh, Zen Bones_

The above commentary from _Zen Flesh, Zen Bones_ mentions delusion coming from subjectivity and truth coming from objectivity, which is a goal of Enlightenment.  Hmmm…  That actually sounds like the Scientific Method a bit, and Richard Feynman’s famous quote comes to mind:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.

(Richard Feynman, Caltech Commencement Address, 1974)

I think Zen Bunny would put it this way:

“If you smell BS, check your own paws first.”

Unfortunately, when one is around BS for long enough, one gets used to the smell.  How appropriate that BS also can stand for “Belief System.”

I’m likely to turn Zen Bunny and the Ten Bulls into an inexpensive E-Book as I complete it.  Of course, fans, feedback, and followers are encouraging!

3 thoughts on “Zen Bunny and the Ten Bulls Part 5: Taming the Bull

  1. Cute!
    Love the drawings.
    Suggestion
    Challenge readers to offer their sayings. Read them and then consider if this will change your final version. Group Bull consciousness! What can be better.

    1. Plooooop! I see brown logs fall down the waterfall and disappear into a brown stain. I begin my search for the divine source!

    2. Ah, signs of the Celestial Shitter

    3. The source ! Can I make it mine?

    4. This ain’t gonna be easy and I am in a bad position

    5. Caught, but now Providence is constipated and mad!

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