Ten Bulls of Zen

This parable and teaching story from Zen, one of the world's great wisdom traditions, was shared between 30 October 2014 and 15 January 2015.

"I am using words just to create silent gaps. The words are secondary; the silences between those words are primary.

This is simply a device to give you a glimpse of meditation. And once you know that it is possible for you,

you have travelled far in the direction of your own being." OSHO

We enter on a rare pilgrimage. The Ten Bulls of Zen are something unique in the history of human consciousness. Truth has been expressed in many ways, and it has always been found that it remains unexpressed whatsoever you do.

Howsoever you express it, it eludes, it is elusive. It simply escapes description. The words that you use for it cannot contain it. And the moment you have expressed, immediately you feel frustrated as if the essential has been left behind and only the nonessential has been expressed. The Ten Bulls of Zen have tried in a single effort to express the inexpressible. So first, something about the history of these ten bulls.

Basically, there were eight pictures, not ten; and they were not Buddhist, they were Taoist. Their beginning is lost. Nobody knows how they started, who painted the first bulls. But in the twelfth century a Chinese Zen master, Kakuan, repainted them; and not only that, he added two more pictures, and eight became ten. The Taoist pictures were ending on the eighth; the eighth is emptiness, nothingness. But Kakuan added two new pictures. That is the very contribution of Zen to religious consciousness.

These ten bulls are a pictorial representation of the inquiry, the inquiry that I call man. Kakuan painted the pictures but he was not satisfied. They are tremendously beautiful pictures, but he was not satisfied. Truth is such that whatsoever you do you remain discontented. It cannot be expressed. Then he wrote poems – to substitute. First he painted these ten pictures; feeling dissatisfied, he wrote ten small poems to supplement them. Whatsoever was missing in the pictures he tried in the poems. Again he felt dissatisfied. Then he wrote ten commentaries in prose. I know then too he must have felt unsatisfied, but then there was nothing else to do. Truth is vast, expression limited, but he had tried his best. Nobody had done that before or after.

Location of the Poems in the Book and Audio Files

Osho Ten Bulls of Zen

October 30

November 6

November 13

November 20

November 27

December 4

December 11

December 18

January 1

January 8

January 15

The Introduction - Chapter 1

Poem 1 - The Search for the Bull - Chapter 1

Poem 2 - Discovering the Footprints - Chapter 1

Poem 3 - Perceiving the Bull - Chapter 3

Poem 4 -Catching the Bull - Chapter 3

Poem 5 -Taming the Bull - Chapter 5

Poem 6 - Riding the Bull Home - Chapter 5

Poem 7 - The Bull Transcended - Chapter 7

Poem 8 - Be a lotus flower - Chapter 7

Poem 9 - Reaching The Source - Chapter 9

Poem 10 - In the World - Chapter 9

Download Material Links

Text: The Nine Zen Chapters - PDF Link - http://www.oshorajneesh.com/download/osho-books/zen/The_Search.pdf

(Whilst listening to Osho talk and reading the transcript it is fun to see how the editor has tried to improve some of the grammar!)


Osho Com have digitised and cleaned up these live recording made in 1976 and each talk is for sale on-line for $1.99 or the complete Audio Book at $17.91. Osho World have the original recordings (without the benefit of digital audio clean-up) available without charge. Details of the two sources are here:

Osho Ten Bulls of Zen Audio

For technical support please email yoga@mindfulnessfoundation.org.uk or call 079 3201 1848

Ten Zen Bulls