Taming the Wild Ox
Ten Oxherding Pictures, by Zen Master Kakuan, China, 12th C.
2. Discovering the footprints*
Along the riverbank under the trees,
I discover footprints!
Even under the fragrant grass I see his prints.
Deep in remote mountains they are found.
These traces no more can be hidden than one’s nose,
Comment: Understanding the teaching,
I see the footprints of the bull.
Then I learn that,
just as many utensils are made from one metal,
so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self.
Unless I discriminate,
how will I perceive the true from the untrue?
Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.
In the very observation of our busy mind, we begin to know the nature of ourselves – although we still feel relatively lost.
Source: *Translation by: Paul Reps in Zen Flesh Zen Bones, Tuttle Publishing, Boston, 1989.