The Oxherd Series – Riding the Ox Home – Modern Koans

Posted by in Buddha, Modern Koans, Oxherd Series, Writings


The Oxherd Series is a collection of 10 images and commentary on the quest for enlightenment.  Its source is the Zen tradition. What you’re reading here is a satirical, but not all together purposeless, treatment of these so called stages. Using excerpts from one of my favorite cartoons, Bob’s Burgers, I hope to bring this old story into the present.

What is Buddha Nature?  What do we achieve with enlightenment? Is there or is there not some change demarcating before and after realization?

I think there is a change.  There is always change.  But we can point to some things that might be marked as better than before.

When we rediscover our Buddha nature, there is a smile that appears on our lives. It’s a whole being smile of love, joy, contentment, and compassion. Death appears more vividly on the horizon, but the fear of it and it’s impact on our lives is reckoned with. One finds in the rhythm of nature a boundless source of life, peace, and creativity. Hearing is unchanged but heeded and savored. Sight, taste, smell, and touch – the same. Our capacity to relate is stretched beyond what we thought was possible, far beyond the bounds of our small selves. While there will be good days, bad days, sorrow, and joy, the struggle is over.


Mounting the bull, slowly I return homeward.
The voice of my flute intones through the evening.
Measuring with hand-beats the pulsating harmony,
I direct the endless rhythm.
Whoever hears this melody will join me.

Next: The Ox Transcended

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Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

Dialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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