Another open ended story. It is an invitation to see your own situation from a fresh perspective. In this sense, it is not an intellectual exercise, rather just an opportunity to see if any ideas resonate. It can be interpreted in an individual way. Further, as time and conditions change, an individual may see a different aspect from one reading to the next. And if nothing resonates, just pass on by.
Riding an Ox, Looking for an Ox
“Where are you going on your ox?”
“Oh yes, I am going to look for my ox.”
“If it’s your ox you’re looking for, aren’t you riding on it?”
“Ah! So I am”
Depending upon the individual, a starting point for thinking about this story can come from any of a number of different perspectives:
–Searching for an object that is lost. In this situation, one would use the standard techniques for finding things.
–Looking outside for what is in front of you. In such a situation, the search can never be completed as conceived or come to an end.
–Nothing is hidden in nature. All is in front of you even if you do not see it.
–The rider and animal are always together as a unit. More generally, there is no separation between subject and object. This is the way of nature. Misunderstanding the way of nature has consequences in the rider’s activities
–Everything is complete as it is. The “ah yes” recognition of this completion is the moment of awakening to this essential fact.
There is a sequence of 10 pictures in the Zen arts titled “The Ox-Herding Pictures” The pictures depict the journey of the rider recognizing the essential nature as symbolized by the Ox. There are any number of books and references on the Web.