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Riding the Ox Home: Stages on the Path of Enlightenment [Kindle Edition]

John Daido Loori
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

and guideposts are helpful when we undertake a journey. The ten Ox-Herding
Pictures, the accompanying ancient poems, and a modern commentary by John Daido
Loori, sketch the spiritual path encountered in Zen training, a path of
exhaustive study of the self and the realization of the ultimate nature of
reality. The Ox-Herding Pictures can be our companion on the Way of
self-discovery, our compass and perspective when we need one. They are a
bottomless source of mysterious wisdom to which we can return again and again
for inspiration, and they translate easily into the gritty reality of spiritual
practice that emerges from and grounds us in the inescapable relevance of our
daily lives.

exquisite versions of the pictures found in the book are traditional Chinese
brush paintings by Gyokusei Jikihara Sensei, a modern Japanese master of
calligraphy and a teacher in the Obaku School of Zen. The traditional verses
accompanying them have been translated by John Daido Loori and Kazuaki
Tanahashi, translator and editor of
Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Influential Zen Buddhist teacher Loori, abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in New York, offers a clear commentary on "The Ox-herding Pictures," a traditional series of (usually) 10 pictures from 12th-century Chinese Zen master Kuoan accompanied by verses. The pictures form a characteristically wry Zen parable about the process of enlightenment. Loori successfully demonstrates his mastery of teaching: he makes the process simple and accessible, even while issuing cautions about how very, very hard the journey actually is. Loori is also a photographer, so his aesthetic sensibility lends richness to his use of the pictures as a teaching device in Zen study and practice. The herd of Zen oxen books continues to grow: Loori's nicely complements How to Raise an Ox by Francis Dojun Cook (Wisdom, May), an introduction to 13th-century Japanese Zen master Dogen that is more conceptual but equals Loori's in being a key to unlocking the considerable treasury of Zen heritage. (Indeed, both authors are students of Japanese Zen master Taizan Maezumi Roshi.) True, there is literature aplenty on Buddhism, but Loori is an authoritative and respected teacher and this small book, with illustrations in traditional brush painting style by Japanese calligrapher Gyokusei Jikihara Sensei, is effectively visual. It will make a great gift for a Zen student.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"Loori is to be commended for his wise and succinct assessment of the spiritual journey and the important role of spiritual practice."
Spirituality & Health

Product Details

  • File Size: 669 KB
  • Print Length: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; 1 edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,344 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide along the Zen path March 7, 2010
I first learned of the Ox Herding Pictures while living in Korea. A Korean friend, who had once lived in a monastery when contemplating becoming a monk, shared the pictures and their meaning to me as we visited a Buddhist temple near where we lived. The pictures represent a spiritual path of self-study. They are good reminders of the journey. When I saw this book, I looked forward to learning more about the pictures, the journey they represent, and other's interpretations of their meaning.

"Riding the Ox Home" by John Daido Loori is a small gem of a book. It can be read quickly, for it is not that long, but studied deeply because the message is a guide toward self-discovery. Loori is abbot of the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York, and founder and director of the Mountains and Rivers Order, an organization of associated Zen Buddhist temples, practice centers, and meditation groups from around the United States and abroad. His experience and guidance shines through in the passages that accompany the pictures.

After a short introduction, the ten Ox Herding Pictures are shown at the beginning of each of the ten chapters. After the picture, there is an English translation of a poem to accompany each picture. After the picture and poem, there is commentary by Loori on the meaning and how that relates to each individual's own self-discovery and study. The wisdom of these passages runs deep, and one can contemplate on each chapter for a long time. In fact, you can contemplate on the passages of this book for a lifetime, for the journey of self-discovery is a path that may indeed take that long, and it's not necessarily reaching the end that is important, but merely staying on the path.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless April 26, 2009
By CWard
I thoroughly appreciated Loori's chapter by chapter explanation of the Zen Ox Herding Pictures, complete with reproductions of ink paintings in the traditional Chinese-style brush painting. Loori's writing is engaging. He demonstrates a sparse Zen-like use of words to express his points clearly, succinctly, and beautifully.

Each chapter is devoted to one of the stages presented by the pictures, from stage one, Searching for the Ox, through stage ten, Entering the Marketplace.

It helped me better understand stages I've been through on my spiritual journey and how we all follow roughly the same path to awakening. It's not linear, but we keep redoing certain points until it is understood on the level appropriate for us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a small gem April 4, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a small gem, as are all of Loori's books! John Daido Loori is the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, NY. But more than that, he is an artist and an accomplished photographer. The ox-herding pictures are a series of ancient verses that illuminate the stages of enlightenment. Loori has taken them and updated the verses and drawings so they are a little more current yet still retain their timeless significance. Loori's words, in this book and others, resonate with the simple wisdom of a true master, as well as the intuitive "knowing" of an artist. Highly recommended for both students of Zen and all who seek to "see" and create.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely meditation December 21, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've had the pictures for years - nice to have details. Very zen, which is what I'd hoped... if you're into zen or even curious about it, this is a classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Practical, simple, zen November 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Simple, straightforward explanation of zen for people who know next to nothing about it. It lays things out in a practical way, but leaves just enough mystery to keep it spiritual.
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