After awakening, it is necessary to always observe and examine yourself. When errant thoughts suddenly arise, do not go along with them at all; reduce them, reduce them, until you reach the point of noncontrivance, which alone is the ultimate end. This is the ox-herding practice carried on by all illuminates after their enlightenment. Even though there is subsequent cultivation, they have already realized sudden enlightenment.
~ Chinul (1158-1210) From the website DailyZen.com for aug12.2020
Image:From this link: This is one of a series of ten images, generally known in English as the Ox-herding (or Bull-herding) pictures, by the 15th century Japanese Rinzai Zen monk Shubun. They are said to be copies of originals, now lost, traditionally attributed to Kakuan, a 12th century Chinese Zen Master.
“You must bring yourself back to mindfulness wherever you are, all the time. Along with your regular meditation practice, add practices such as this one-minute meditation into your daily life. Train yourself in this way—as soon as some psychic irritant arises, stop and take care of it before you proceed with other activities in your day.”
“Meditation in the strictest sense is a very special way of training our mind. For that you don’t need any particular posture, time, or place. At any time, any place, and in any posture, you can practice mindfulness.”
A bird in a secluded grove sings like a flute. Willows sway gracefully with their golden threads. The mountain valley grows the quieter As the clouds return. A breeze brings along the fragrance Of apricot flowers. For a whole day I have sat here Encompassed by peace, Till my mind is cleansed in and out Of all cares and idle thoughts. I wish to tell you how I feel, But words fail me. If you come to this grove, We can compare notes.
“The mind before meditation is like a cup of muddy water. If you hold the cup still, the mud settles and the water clears. Similarly, if you keep quiet, holding your body still and focusing your attention on your object of meditation, your mind will settle down and you will begin to experience the joy of meditation.”
“WHEN WE SEE A FLOWER, we think, ‘How pretty. I like looking at this.’ The feeling is one of acceptance. Seeing a cockroach, however, may cause revulsion and rejection. We may experience feelings like ‘I don’t want to see that. It’s disgusting. I wish it would go away.’
“So, who is doing all this accepting and rejecting? The answer, of course, is your own mind. We make these decisions as we see the world around us with our eyes, hear it with our ears, and feel it with our bodies. Acceptance of something gives rise to attachment, rejection to anger. Therefore, we can see that the true source of anger lies in the individual, not in the object. Objects are neutral. A flower has no intention of making us happy; neither does a cockroach intend to cause repulsion. Every individual’s perception is fixed by his or her attitude.
“Let us say that all of us are wearing colored glasses. These glasses are the difference between whether one lives in the light of contentment or in the darkness of dissatisfaction. The Buddha provides instructions to remove the glasses and correct our vision, but the responsibility of actually taking the glasses off falls entirely upon the individual. Please do not wait until a mystical being intervenes. That will never happen.”