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Ten Ox-Herding Images

Training the Mind for Enlightenment

ByWim van den Dungen

The Ten Ox-Herding Images are an ingenious set of metaphors representing the process of awakening, the complete recognition of the original mind. These images by Rinzai Ch'an priest Kuoan Shiyuan of the 12th century, reproduced by Tensho Shubun (1414 – 1463), have been repainted throughout the centuries. But while varying versions exist, what they convey stands unchanged. Part of the Zen tradition, they show how to train the mind, a process shared by all schools of the Buddha Vehicle. This mind training, in the form of ten stages on the path to enlightenment, is a science of awakening rooted in the Dharma of the Buddha. These metaphors shed light on the mental processes leading to true peace. Kuoan’s illustrations move beyond the attainment of Buddhahood, and explain how the last stage calls for the awakened one to walk back ‘In Town With Helping Hands’. The path culminates in universal altruism.


Publication Date
Sep 28, 2023
Religion & Spirituality
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Wim van den Dungen



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