16 x 20 | flashe
This is the second in a series of 10 riffing on Kakuan's "Ten Ox Herding Pictures" from the 12th century. It is thought that the Zen monk, Kakuan, was creating a visual tool to aid progress in realizing one's Buddha nature, or true self. It's paradoxical or at least a bit comic how easily we fail to realize who we most naturally and truly are. Instead we construct all kinds of apparatuses to which we attach ourselves...and then wonder, "really?"
Every now and then we see or experience things that seem somehow just "right," that resonate with something larger or unexpected. But then...is what we're seeing or experiencing for real or just what we imagine? How do we distinguish between what is real and what is fake? what is true and what false? Are these actually traces of our true nature or distractions that lead us away from it?
Does the tracker know his own error? In following the traces has he passed the bull by and let him escape?