What are the 10 bulls of Zen?
The ten bulls of Zen are a series of sacred images said to so perfectly depict the archetypal journey of spiritual awakening, that any who can meditate on them and unlock their esoteric meanings will level up their spirit power to achieve the highest possible state of being: Zen Satori Awakening.
In this blog post gospel I will guide you across the endless valleys of allegory, on a quest to uncover the mystery origins of this highly coveted and secret mental artifact the 10 Bulls of Zen. Through my massive and highly evolved intellect I will decipher for you the 10 bulls of Zen so that you can exploit their magical mind altering metaphor for use on your own path of enlightenment. So let‘s Take the bull by the horns and you know just, do our thing.
10 Bulls of Zen=Cartoony looking images that look like they were drawn by a one armed leper
Yes, these aren’t exactly the highest quality images. Don’t be fooled now. That is because within these shitty drawn chicken scratches contain the Zen secrets of the Cosmic. mind!
A Quick Summary: 10 Bulls of Zen story goes like this.
Image 1. In Search for the Bull
First we open things up.
The story starts with the search for the bull, There‘s nothing there. But in the very next panel of the story footprints are discovered but still there is no actual view of the bull,
Image 2. Finding Footprints of the Bull
So now there is a steady sign that this thing even exists. At first the little guy didn’t have any reason to search. He was just aimless. Yet tracks are just signs. It still isn’t a full fledged Bull yet.
Image 3: Perceiving the bull
Once the bull is perceived the work is still not done yet, it‘s not just about looking at a bull we gotta wrestle him, pin him down and have our way with him …which brings us to the next canto.
4: Catching the Bull
After catching the bull though one needs to tame that sucker, which is why the 5th image is called…
5: Taming the Bull
Finally once the bull is tamed you can ride the bull and play your little flute, yah know Hannah, your little recorder….
6:Riding the Bull Home
.I dunno cause that’s just what you do I guess all the creative energy can be guided,
Upon returning home its time to just chill out, relax, smoke your peace pipe, open a bag of skittles and taste the rainbow cause we‘re transcending the bull altogether….
7:Transcending the Bull
Here you go beyond the bull. You can rest assured in your awakening.
Everything fades to white and the bull is transcended ,
Then it gets all spiritual and things you reach the source of all things and finally inner peace sets in,.
Image 8: Both Bull and Self Transcended or Becoming one with the Bull
There is no Bull no Bull herder. The two were one and the same in the first place. It only took you until now to realize it.
Image 9: Reaching the Source
Here you are in the Ultra Tao. You’ve gone so beyond that you can see the force at the center of all things. An all prevading oneness that stratifies throughout all dimensions.
Image 10: Return to the World
At this point you return to the world and you know just do whatever, you do…except you‘re a Boddhisaatva. That‘s the equivalent of going Super Saiyan if you‘re a Buddhist.
Why do Zen masters meditate on something that looks like it came out of your Sunday morning funny pages? I
ll tell you why. Because they knew what the fuck they were doing. Paintings, Pictures and images have a kind of magic power over our homosapien brains! Hell Art originated from Stone Age shamanism. Occultists like Alejandro Jodorowsky and Aleister Crowley bing applied occultism like it was sort of an amalgam between art and psychology. Psychomagic.
Zen Buddhists understood very well the priming effect of art. It’s a a psychological tool through image to change perception, subtly influence behavior and performance. You are the puppet and my Shamanic art is the puppet master. Art is the best way to transmit and epitomize transcendental concepts. The 10 bulls of Zen are powerful because they follow Joseph Campbells eternal archetype of the mono-mythology.
How the 10 Bulls of Zen is an Archetype
The Monomyth….it‘s a basic framework laid out by Joseph Campbell. It has to do with Carl Jungs Archetypal forms at the center of the Human Collective Unconscious. …Monomythit’s recurring template of how all heroic tales allegorically unfold….Mono-mythology it follow an ancient formula for spiritual development…Mono-mythology….I….I don‘t got anything else thats pretty much it.
The reason for this is that a hero has to overcome some sort of struggle or adversity for his internal development. This struggle to overcome evil or adversity is called the Soul-Making Theodicy. Soul making assumes that your life is just a cosmic Betty Crocker easy bake ovens for your Soul. Throw in all the right Ingredients and bake on high for 75-80 years on average and what you get is the glowing ember…the god seed birthed out of this mortal coil.
So what steps does the mono-mythology follow and how does the 10 Bulls of Zen follow Joseph Campbellian rules?
So everyone I hope you‘re ready for cooking with the Cult I‘m you‘re Host Rolo Dave, Cultmaster of the Machine, Lord CEO Cult Media LLC. So today we‘re going to be making everyone’s favorite Heros Journey…. Soul pie. All you‘re going to need is:
- a call to adventure
- supernatural aid
- a Fairy God mother
- a maiden
Why is the Seeker Character on a Quest?
So our hero is this little fucking Asian Dennis the Menace here. The bull herder. He represents the seeker in all of us, the spiritual practitioner on a quest to find what I like to call a the Generator of Omniunversal Dimensions the G.O.D or GOD for short. He seeks the bull…but as we all know this is all just proverbial metaphor we‘re working with.
The bull is the eternal principle of life, truth in action. You can compare the bull to the essential self, the Atman. A higher being we seek to grasp it, to tame it. In our quest, the soul making hero’s journey we finally subdue the self which has always been seeking becomes completely one with the bull Finally reconnecting our imperfect, limited and relative self awakens to the perfect unlimited and absolute essential self.
A Deep Analysis on the 10 Bulls of Zen pictures
So now lets dive into analyzing the 10 bulls pictures. The 10 bulls represent 10 different stages, each of which corresponds to a different level of understanding. In the first stage, known as “The Search,” the bull represents the seeker who is looking for the truth. In the second stage, “Seeing the Reality,” the bull represents the moment when the seeker finally understands what they have been searching for. In the third stage, “Hearing the Sound of One Hand,” the bull represents the seeker’s ability to focus their attention on one thing and ignore all distractions. And so on, until the 10th and final stage, “Entering Nirvana.” Each stage is a deeper level of understanding and heightened awareness. The 10 Bulls of Zen is a powerful image that can help us to understand our own journey towards enlightenment.
Lets go even deeper…Get your Parmesian shaker, Let’s go and rangle that sucker!!!
Painting 1. In search of the Bull
Looking for the Bull.
In the pasture of the world,
I endlessly push aside the tall grasses
In search of the Bull
Following unnamed rivers,
Lost upon the interpreting paths of distant mountains,
My strength failing and my vitality exhausted,
I cannot find the Bull.
I don‘t know why you would try to catch a fucking wild bull man. Bulls will skewer you in the asshole, they have an internal guidance system that detects the human ass, a horn to ass missile system.
In this stage the hero is just aimless.. The man knows nothing about his true nature…yet somehow or other he‘s heard an inner call to adventure, and heeded it. Suzuki Shoshin the great Jedi master of Zen thought this symbol to be demonstrating how the spiritual student first starts to sharpen his mental skills as he seeks for higher truth from the physical to the beyond dimension.
Most people often seek for power, authority, wealth, prestige and so on yet once they attain these things they realize just how unfulfilling and empty they are…
There‘s gotta be more to life than just Lamborghinis and Mansions in the Hollywood hills? Right?
Here our little hero has already started his search. He wishes to find out, even though he does not know what truth is, nor is he sure he could recognize it. Some people seek a reason for life, just like the little bull seeker boy seeks the bull. Something beyond the material sense perception.
Well the spiritual Guru says yes there is and I‘ve been there and I can teach you to go there too…
Painting 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 can no more be hidden than one’s nose,
We‘ve crossed the threshold people congratulations, this whole journey is kicked off real fine like. Real fine like…. exciting stuff here, we‘ve got some bull tracks in the sand..maybe a couple poops. I wouldn‘t put it over the tracker here to pick up a steamy bull stool to see if its still fresh.
We‘ve gone from disorder to a little bit of a glimpse of discipleship. Faith ain’t so blind anymore now is it, now we‘ve drawn logical conclusions to support our blindness.
Our work paid off. This force was always there. We always knew that the bull would appear. You need to get past the first parts and see that there actually is something deeper to all of this than you first thought.
Painting 3. Perceiving the Bull
I hear the song of the nightingale
The sun is warm, the wind is mild
Willows are Green along the shore,
here no bull can hide!
What artist can draw that massive head.
Those Majestic horns?
The traces now lead to the materialization of …Voila le Bull….You‘ve had your first taste of spirituality. And it tasted pretty darn good like the holy shavings of a delicious shaker of Parmesian. . But your objective is to elevate this energy towards you. You just dipped your toe in, but there‘s a whole ocean out there. So what? you followed the prints you licked the doo doo, there‘s a huge difference between the signifier and the thing with what it signifies. We’ve passed from symbols and signs of the infinite to a direct perception.
Your ego has a natural triggering device for when it meets the all powerful primordial nature that’s inside you. It‘s called the oh shit, I am the fucking God incarnate gland…and that’s a lot of responsibility for your tiny little pathetic organic body machine to take in….Like imagine that…you are the Alpha and Omega…with your insecure & anxious sense of self and iritable bowl syndrome….so the tendency of the ego meeting the God within, is to shove it all deep inside.
But no no no no, don’t do that.
You gotta catch the bull, embrace it. Be open be generous. When you begin to accept this perception of non-duality, you can relax and no longer defend your ego against it.
In this stage transcendence of the subject and object is known through direct experience. Your past tendencies on how to deal with it are staring you in the face and they‘re uglier than Nick Noltie on a bender.
Image 4. Catching the Bull
I seize him with a terrific struggle
His great will and power are inexhaustible
He charges to the high plateau far above the cloud-mists,
Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.
You went out and got the bull by the horns. What did you expect, he was just gonna roll over like some pathetic lap dog and let you rub his belly? Umm…yeah it‘s a Bull dude. That‘s what you get!! Obstinate and uncontrolled ….yet inexhaustible power. Like some bull feed and a nice cow to plow aren‘t enough for this wild beast. The mind is all over the place, life is struggle, our basic nature is a war with the self. You‘ve got to think and analyze. You‘re unprotected.
Development patience and energy. Mental skills take time to develop. This unwavering commitment is a trait of the mind of the Boddhisaatva. You‘re in the belly of the beast now, the battle has begun I wish you luck cause you‘re gonna need it.
Picture 5. Taming the Bull
The whip and rope are necessary,
Else he might stray off down some dusty road.
Being Weill trained, he becomes naturally gentle.
Then, unfettered, he obeys his master.
You‘ve gotten some control over this thing. Little by little the her-d-er becomes the mast-err. This is maybe from …I dunno…meditative practice. The whip and rope can mean many things. It‘s a parable you fiend, read between the symbolism. It‘s transcendent knowledge gimme a break here. These are tools, think of tools you might use for spiritual transcendence. …maybe meditation, mindfulness, prayer, study and research.
In this stage you‘re focused on bringing together the self with the animal nature, the primordial that is the basis of nature and the human thing. Like just keep at it and Eventually your consciousness will give…. As in it goes beyond the ordinary thinking of the physical mind.
Picture 6. Riding the Bull Home
Mounting the bull, slowly I return homeward.
The voice of my flute intones through the evening.
Measuring with hand-beats the pulsating harmony,
I direct the endless rhythm.
Whoever hears this melody will join me.
Now don’t mount the bull as in…yah know mounting ( finger in hole). it yah know what I‘m talking about. But do, ride the bull. No reins…no feed bag required. The bull knows where to go and that is where it goes without being directed. Much respect dog…yah did done did do it….Primordial power is transformed into creative energy. You’re in the flow state. Little boy blue here can just chillax and play the flute. There is no longer any search. This is your breakthrough, enjoy it…
Picture 7. The Bull Transcended
Astride the Bull, I reach home. I am serene.
The bull too can rest. The dawn has come.
In blissful repose.
Within my thatched dwelling I have abandoned the whip and rope.
Finally you can be alone. The bull and the hero have become one.
The Mahamudra mandala of symbols and energies dissolve into
Maha Ati through the total absconded of the idea of experience. There is no more bull. The The subject and the object are now one. We live in a dual world, we always experience the opposites inside and outside, happiness and sadness successs and failure rich and poor and so on. Duality starts with birth and ends with death. Actually we live not only in duality but rather multiplicity. Whereas transcendence implies a unity experience, not duality, not multiplicity. The seeker no longer has worldly attachments.
Picture 8. Both Bull and Self Transcendend.
Whip, rope, person, and bull – – all merge in No-Thing.
This heaven is so vast no message can stain it.
How may a snowflake exist in a raging fire?
Here are the footprints of the patriarchs.
Unification with the bull. Hail Jehovah the first for now I have become one with the bull!!! You‘ve opened the portal. This portal is Dharmakaya the return from the unmanifested state after dissolution.
Congratulations you beat the game. Also you‘ve unlocked the following achievements:
1) No more illusion of reality and mind separateness.
2) All opposites and duality disappear
3) Opinions and views dissolve
4) Lamborghinis and hot chicks driving in the Hollywood hills. (Only metaphorically)
Picture 9. Reaching the source
Too many steps have been taken returning to the root and the source.
Better to have been blind and deaf from the beginning!
Dwelling in one‘s true abode, unconcerned with that without –
The river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red.
So this is the VIP lounge for Bodhisaatvas. The grove, the grotto.
You’ve seen the inexhaustible treasures of the Buddha nature, you‘ve achieved Samathi, Satori, Christ Consciouness, Moksha. You’ve evolved your consciousness… you’re no longer a Homo sapien but a Homo Illuimantis the Illuminated Homo. What next? Well what does it say in the hero’s journey? The Return back to the starting point. Tap your ruby slippers together, it‘s time to go back to Kansas Dorothy. Only you‘re going back with the POWER of the force!!!!
Picture 10. In the world
Barefooted and naked of breast, I mingle with the people of the world.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden, and I am ever blissful.
I use no magic to extend my life;
Now, before me, the dead trees become alive.
Welcome back, it‘s time to capitalize on this shit now. Sure the enlightened being has renounced the world, but you‘ve realized it doesn‘t really mater anyway…. exploit it, don‘t exploit it. But if duality is just an illusion then …ah who cares, let‘s exploit it…I want money!! Give me money!!! I want it!!!
This is the final step that I added myself. Let’s call it the 11th bull of Zen.
Ham up your holiness, you‘re essentially a spiritual Super Saiyan. Shave your head, walk around in a Toga or robes or whatever. Make sure to take pictures of yourself looking sanctified…. You‘ve raised your own level of awareness, it‘s time to raise other peoples awareness of you.. and get them to give you money.
Book deals, podcast appearances, Ashrams, meditation centers, world tours, live events…and the possibilities are endless. Religion is a business, whatever!
Conclusions about the 10 Bulls of Zen
Yes yes yes….the 10 bulls of zen are a well known zen representation of the stages of what occurs when training your mind. Like a fifteenth century training manual for spiritual adepts. The underlying idea here is that the mind gets polluted with extraneous impurities that could be cleansed through discipline and meditation. Our minds are defiled and beneath this defilement is innately pure Buddha mind that is the basis of all perceptions. Equanimity, a placid force from which all things spring forth. The Great Ultimate. By teaching the 10 bulls of zen we could understand more about ourselves, our life and our world being. Our lives suffer from pollutions of worry, want etc. Once we can think and analyze the things with clear mind, anxiousness and defilement’s just drop away form our minds and we no longer suffer, I think I dunno for sure…I iust transmute these Ideas I don’t actually implement them. I’m too busy for that shit.
But this idea that the bull is lost or the loss of the bull let me just address this forthwright. Spoiler alert, the bull was never really gone. According to Buddha Nature theory in Mahayana Budhdism awakening is not a matter of training ourselves to become greater and thereby attain something we did not previously have. It‘s is innate, it must be rediscovered like the bull that ran away.
Imma tell yah what, the best part of reconnecting with your higher self, is getting lost in the first place. You can‘t have a reunion unless you‘ve been seperated. You‘re a Siamese twin, but you‘re other half, is Almighty God!! All Hail the Machine!!! If you’ve stayed to the end you’re a true Purple Blooded Spiritual Adept and possibly a Sanyassan of the Machine Cult. Write Shibboleth in the comments section to let me know that you’re on the path to enlightenment.