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Ten Ox Herding

About The Ten Ox Herding Project

This project is a collaboration with my friend Shinji Asai. It is a surfer's search of the true nature of the mind, based on the story from "Ten Ox Herding".

Ten Bulls or Ten Ox Herding is a series of short poems and accompanying drawings used in the Zen tradition to describe the stages of a practitioner's progress toward enlightenment and her or his return to society to enact wisdom and compassion.

Shinji wrote the story in Japanese for each step and Tim Crowe translated it into English.

The Kanji and stamp is made by Shinji's brother Junichi Asai.

All artwork is available as a gallery quality archival giclee prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, a white, 100% cotton paper with a smooth surface texture. Available with or without a matte/ border, and with or without a black/ white wood frame.


The Search Begins

In life, there will be defining moments when one is confronted with making a monumental decision. Whether it is the search for dream waves, focusing the mind and spirit to conquer the highest mountains, or to cross the deepest of rivers. Determination, courage and truly believing in achieving these goals will lead to where the sun shines truly golden.

人は 人生のある時 奮い立ち 
旅に出る 秘めた大志を胸に 
夢の波や何処に ?人生の意味とは?
そそり立つ峡谷 行く手を遮る急流
試練にあらがい 一歩を踏み出す
彼方に搖れる 黄金の夕焼けを道標に

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 1 - The Search Begins - Jonas Claesson



The Path

With perseverance, and the strenuous physical training, that is required to face big waves, or long and exhausting hours of studies. Mental strength is increased, as well as the wisdom to face such mighty adversities. And all along this journey you will also find valuable hints and pointers that will lead you to the place of the "Sleeping Giant".

試練は続き 忍耐は試される
猛る波に立ち向かうには 鍛錬が必要だ
身体だけではなく 逞しい精神も問われるだろう
自分が何者であるかを 知るための終わりなき学び
地平線へと続く 果てなき旅路をゆきながら
乾いた喉を潤す 朝露に光明をいだく
眠れる巨人の稜線が 彼方に浮かぶ

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 2- The Path - Jonas Claesson



The Bay

Once all of the physical and mental adversities were conquered, "The bay of dream waves" was finally found. Through the gruelling process of sheer physical and mental exhaustion, there comes a state of true enlightenment. A realisation that the deeper part of the mind is in fact observing you. This is the glimpse into your true mind at work.

夜が明ける 茨の道を抜けた先
語り継がれる 伝説の湾へ 導かれた
彼方から押し寄せる波が 陽光を浴び 金色に輝いている
気がつけば 傷だらけの身体は著しく
震えていた精神は 揺らがぬ物になっていた
何か深い意識が 心の奥底に芽生えている

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 3 - The Bay - Jonas Claesson




Surviving hundreds of horrendous wipeouts will give you the strength that is required to break through the walls that surround your true mind.

Although, the struggle to face these high walls that were created as a result of countless desires and egos might still be present. So you must hold on tight to the true mind, so it does not slip away.

己との戦いでも有る 大口に開けて襲いかかる波に
挑んでは いともたやすく弾き飛ばされ
身体と精神を削られながら 挑み続ける
いつしか自我は研ぎ澄まされ 純粋の境地を得る
獰猛だったはずの波が 優しく我が身を包んだ

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 4 - Struggles - Jonas Claesson



Harmony in motion

Extensive practice, on top of practice. Yet, you continue to hit the wall that prevents you from reaching your true mind.  But then finally, the moment arrives when that fear transforms into confidence. The once resistant tension is now in harmony with the flow. The rain stops falling and a beautiful rainbow is revealed.

所有する欲望は 外なる世界に過ぎない
純粋とは 心の中に 息衝いている
大波を前にし 身を焦がすほどの緊張に
包まれると 内側を支配していた硬い殻に
裂け目ができた 雨がやみ 虹が現れる
葛藤は去り 調和が流れ始めた

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 5 - Harmony In Motion - Jonas Claesson



Peaceful easy feeling

The battle is over, and so ends the search. But in reality, you didn't have to look that far, in many ways it was with you all along, and now you will keep it close. It was simply a lack of enlightenment that prevented you from seeing things clearly.  And with this understanding comes a feeling of peace and tranquillity, as you soak in the golden sunshine at The Bay.

混沌は蒸発し 探求に旅が終わる
最初から 旅など必要ではなかった
答えは自分の中にあったのだ ただ欲望の霧が
純粋なマインドへの道標を 曇らせていた
穏やかな心に 橙色の光が降り注ぎ
光の筋はまっすぐに 宝玉の在り処を照らした

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 6 - Peaceful - Jonas Claesson




Sitting the quiet of the night, you calm the mind and meditate. Thinking about nothing specific, merely letting thoughts arrive, and then slip across the mind. Beyond the limitations of time and space, you are now on the path to a state of pure energy. A path that has been travelled by all past masters.

静けさに抱かれ 心を鎮める
浮かんでは消える思い そのままに
深く 更に深く 意識の深層を辿っていく
時間も空間も超えた 静かなる世界
祖師たちも流浪した 全てに創造の源へ

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 7 - Meditation - Jonas Claesson



One source

When in the deepest state of meditation, you realise that all things are born from the state of pure energy. This energy creates physical matter, before taking the shape of billions of different forms. Each of these forms will exist for a while, before returning back to pure energy.  And so the cycle is completed.

瞑想の先に見る 万物を創造する源泉
天と地 光と影 やがてそこから限りない物質が生まれる
無限のエネルギーの循環 純粋なバイブレーション
永遠なる海が 現世に生み落とす 1粒1粒の魂
経験し すべての雫は やがて又海えと帰っていく

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 8 - One Source - Jonas Claesson



Higher Perspective

The world is the same as it was before you embarked on the journey. Flowers are still as colourful, the ocean remains blue, and waves continue to break beautifully. The reality is that it was there all along, only now you can see it so perfectly. You have become a part of what you see before you.

そう気づくまでに 多くの時を 旅に費やした
花は色づき 海は青く 波は美しくブレークしている
目の前に広がるこの 風景は 幻だろうか
否 真実と幻は共にあり 今真実を見る

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 9 - Higher Perspective - Jonas Claesson



Love, Friends and bonfire

When you have been isolated from society, it is easy to be pure, but eventually you must go back to where you live.  New friends have been met, while old friends have come from far away places, with this a realisation that life truly is beautiful!  Sitting around the bonfire, under a billion stars, chatting about waves, music, food and love, the night seems to last forever. Tomorrow it will be Big Wednesday!

世間を離れて 純粋を保つことは難しくない
それでも旅人は 悟りを胸に 世間へ戻る
新たな隣人を歓迎し 遠方寄りの友人を労う
満天の星の下 旅人はあの日の波の話をする
研ぎ澄まされ 波に包まれた刹那の悟りを

Print available here

Ten Ox Herding Part 10 - Love - Jonas Claesson

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