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What does Zen have to do with Bulls?

This is a question that we get asked on occasion, in fact more than occasionally, and for those who have had limited exposure to Zen, it is a very valid one.

Zen is famous for its stories and metaphors, among those told are what is known as the Ox-Herding pictures which were found throughout China from the very earliest centuries.

In the 12 century the renowned Zen master Kakuan added two more bulls to the traditional 8 bringing the total to 10.

The Zen Bulls are a metaphor for the journey to self realization and the evolution of awakening, a journey that is possible for all of us.
The Zen Bull
 10. Return to Society
Barefooted and naked of breast,
I mingle with the people of the world.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden,
and I am ever blissful.
I use no magic to extend my life;
Now, before me, the dead trees
become alive.

 
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