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The Ox Herder: A Zen Parable Illustrated Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: George Braziller (December 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807615110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807615119
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since the ninth century, students of Zen Buddhism have drawn a parallel between the individual path to enlightenment and the story of the herder and his missing ox. There are 10 stages in the parable, beginning with the search for the ox, in which a boy is racked with doubt because "Nothing has been lost in the first place,/ So what is the use of searching?" In the final stage, the boy reappears as the Buddha of the Future, enlightened. The scroll reprinted here is the oldest known version of the Japanese Ten Oxherding Songs, dating to 1278, and the only known example with illustrations in color along with the calligraphy. An introduction by Stephanie Wada, associate curator of the Mary and Jackson Burke foundation (which holds the manuscript) explains, in scholarly terms, both the story and the origins of this scroll and its ten circular drawings (one for each song) and poems. Nothing she writes, however, can have the impact of the eighth part of the parable: with just a wide, empty circle from which both the boy and the ox have vanished, this stage indicates that the attachment to "self" and earthly things has been relinquished. The delicacy and unstudied precision of the calligraphy's brushwork furthers the feeling. Even a Zen novice can appreciate the message of this parable, lovingly inked more than 700 years ago.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Stephanie Wada is Associate Curator at the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, one of the most extensive private collections of Japanese art outside of Japan. She has taught courses in Asian art at Temple Univesity, Parsons School of Design, Columbia University, and The City College of New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a treasure. Hard to believe that something conceived
before we began counting time could be so valuable. Adopted from
the Tao and improved by the Zen. God almighty, when it comes to
reading just one book, this is the one that makes me want to
begin at page one again.

How did they know it in the ninth century? How do we know it now?
This kind of insight is too precious to forget. Think of it as one
picture each century, and here we are. After counting my breathing
and watching my nose for 40 years, believe me, it's ALL here.

No one owns it. Though we all try. If you can't be bothered, at least
buy mozzerella cheese. Huzzah to the noble souls that keep this
lineage alive. Buy this book. Put it under your zafu (pillow) and
sleep on it. That spirit keeps the full moon content to rest in
the night sky.

This is the story that inspired me to write Campaign Zen.
Campaign Zen
Cheers! PeterPrasad.SF@Twitter.com
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