三 Perceiving the Ox

Standard

A magpie calls out from a branch above my head
At the sound, the clouds disappear
The mountain painted in the warm evening light
Bamboo rustles by the river

I’ve traced the ox into an open valley
Without a crag, gorge, or even a boulder to hide behind
Now what brush is there that holds enough ink
 To render the full extent of his horns?

For what ever reason, it seems that there is usually an outer experience accompanying realization. There are many stories of monks attaining enlightenment at the sound of a bell, a drum, or a bird song. The Buddha’s moment of enlightenment happened when, after days of deep meditation, he looked up and saw a morning star hanging in the sky.

The first time I caught a flash of insight (and just about every time since) I immediately got caught up in thoughts of what “I” just experienced, and with that the ox remains at arm’s length.

No thinking or conceptualizing will get me any closer to the ox. I’ll just be sitting there grasping at his tail for eternity.

Why do I even keep making an ox?

Can you look at these words and see only the pixels of the screen?

Perceiving the Ox

A bush warbler sings upon a branch,
Warm sun, soft breezes, green willows on the bank.
Nowhere can the ox escape to hide,
But those majestic horns are difficult to draw.

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