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Osho on Ten Bulls of Zen

Osho on Ten Bulls of Zen

Osho - Ten Bulls of Zen. That is one of the most beautiful stories man has ever created. It is a collection of ten paintings....

In the first painting, the bull is lost, the owner is looking here and there, and there are trees all around, but there is no sign of the bull.

In the second picture, he recognizes deep in the forest just the tail of the bull. It indicates that perhaps the bull is hiding there behind the trees.

In the third picture he sees the footprints of the bull, going towards the same direction where he can see the tail of the bull.

In the fourth he has seen the whole bull.
In the fifth he has caught hold of the bull.
In the sixth he has managed to ride on it.

In the seventh he is coming back towards home, sitting on the bull. In the eighth he has put the bull in the stall from where he has escaped.

In the ninth he is sitting by the side of the bull, playing on the flute. These nine paintings are existent in Zen as it exists in Japan, but the original collection was Chinese....

The last painting is missing in these paintings, and the last painting is the most important. It is not just by accident that this painting is missing. It has been dropped deliberately, considering the implications of it. It is a dangerous painting because in the tenth the man is going towards the marketplace with a bottle of alcohol.

What are you going to do after you become enlightened? That's what I was saying to you... after a few minutes one starts feeling thirsty, it is time....

The tenth was of immense importance; it says that even when you have found the bull -- which is symbolic of finding yourself -- it does not mean that you become superior to other human beings. When you have found yourself, rather than becoming superior to others, for the first time you understand humbleness and you start moving towards the marketplace: to the lowliest, humblest, towards the pub where people are drunk. Your buddhahood does not make the drunkards condemned, but you yourself start moving towards the pub to make friends with the condemned, to help them come out of their drunkenness. And that is the only way to help them, to be with them.

One Zen master in Japan was continuously being sent to jail for small things... stealing. And a great master -- even the magistrates respected him. They asked him, "Why do you do this? You have thousands of disciples; even the emperor comes to touch your feet -- and you have stolen somebody's shoes...!"

He simply smiled. And his whole life it continued -- three months in jail, then two or three months outside. Then again he would find a way... and finally everybody became accustomed to the fact that he is incurable.
But there must be some secret....

The day he was dying, one disciple asked, "Don't leave us before telling the secret. Why did you continue your whole life stealing absolutely unnecessary things? We were ready to offer you anything you wanted; you never asked for anything."

The man, before dying opened his eyes and he said, "The reason was that in the prison are the most drunk, asleep people -- murderers, rapists, thieves, all kinds of criminals. I had to be with them to awaken them; there was no other way."

This man must have been of immense compassion. But, afraid it would be misunderstood, when this series of paintings moved from China to Japan the tenth picture was dropped. You will also agree that it does not look good that Gautam Buddha is going towards the pub....

A professor used to come to me -- he was a professor in the same university as I was, and he said, "I would like to be a sannyasin" -- he was immensely impressed -- "but the only fear is that after becoming a sannyasin I cannot go to the pub, and you know that I am addicted to alcohol. Wearing the robe of the sannyasin it will look very weird and other drunks will start laughing."
I said, "There is no harm. Drink anyway. Become a sannyasin and give it a try."

He became a sannyasin and the second day he came -- "You have put me in trouble. I was thinking there is only one trouble, the pub; there are many. My wife now touches my feet! She says, `You are so spiritual!' Now I cannot relate with her in any other way, except by giving her a blessing."

He was very angry, he said, "You! You must have known and still you did it to me -- and I have been your friend for so long. Last night in the dark I sneaked towards the pub, hoping that everybody must have left by this time, but the bartender was there. He immediately fell on the ground, touched my feet and he said, `What a great transformation!' Now I feel like killing you!"

I said, "It is strange... You asked for sannyas. It certainly brings troubles, but if you can be a little patient it will also bring blessings, ecstasies, which are far more important than the wife or the pub or your friends."
He said, "I have to be patient because I cannot go backward; that would be very humiliating."

Afraid of this situation, the Japanese masters who had brought the paintings from China dropped the tenth painting. But because it is still called the "ten" paintings of Zen, the "Ten Bulls of Zen," I became curious because when I counted there were only nine. I had to work for years to find out that they are not Japanese, they are Chinese. They still carry the old title but the tenth painting has been dropped.

Just the consideration that if people become enlightened and still go to the pub to drink alcohol, or go to the gambling places... it will be very difficult to protect their respectability. Just to protect their respectability they thought it was better to drop the tenth painting completely: Don't take it to Japan; only nine are perfectly good. You have found yourself -- now play on the flute, enjoy....

But just the flute will not do. To enjoy, many more things are needed -- and that tenth painting contains many more things.

Source - Osho Book "Live Zen"

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