16 x 20 | flashe
This the third in a series of ten interpretations of Kakuan's "Ox Herding Pictures." The original pictures by Kakuan from the 12th century were visual tools to aid an aspiring monk in his Zen practice. The bull may be regarded as one's 'original nature' popularly (and somewhat imprecisely) conceived as finding oneself.
In "Seeing the Traces" (#2) the unskilled tracker cannot be sure about what s/he is seeing, whether the track is real or imagined. Then suddenly there is a difference between 'observation,' looking, analyzing, processing things in your head and encountering the 'presence' of the bull full on, directly and immediately. There is no longer the wondering & weighing, reflecting and imagining. Knowing is now felt through the power of encountering a presence that both exhilarates and terrifies leaving no room for question. It is an eruption from which one must flee or come to face. There is no longer a place where the bull can hide.