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Perceiving the Ox

By Tuere Sala

FRI APR 08, 2022

At last the yogi gets a clear glimpse of the Ox.  In this third story, they have seen the potentiality of the true mind.  What this means is that the yogi has a direct experience of the possibility of liberation. It doesn't have to be a big experience. This is important because most early experiences come across as insignificant moments in ordinary time. In the verse, this is demonstrated by how casual the moment is when the yogi perceives the ox (song of the nightingale, the sun is warm, the wind is mild...) and yet the phrase, "Here no bull can hide," implies that the presence of the bull is completely obvious. The yogi knows the practice is real and can be trusted as another way to view the world.  They just don't completely understand at this point because they only see the rear portion of the ox. The verse implies the size of the ox, however, is a lot bigger than the yogi originally thought (What artist can draw that massive head, those majestic horns?).

What makes this moment so important is that it's undeniable. We see something extraordinary in an ordinary moment. We understand something about dhamma that is most likely unexplainable. This is an important stage in practice. It has nothing to do with us. It's a natural unfolding that has been steadily coming our way. We just didn't know it. Here, this moment is the beginning of a dedicated trust in the practice. It's here that we are willing to practice something we don't understand and even if no one in our circle of relationships practices. This moment can be both inspiring and terrifying at the same time. We see both the possibility of peace and the enormity of the challenge of living in a conditional world.

This story points to what happens when our practice begins to take shape in a serious way.  We know now that peace is true - not because some teacher told us, but because we have seen for ourselves through direct experience.  In a moment's time, we have seen suffering and the end of suffering.  We don't yet understand how suffering arises nor how it ends.  We just know the truth of its existence and cessation.  This is our first glimpse at mind.  It is exciting but we are now all in.

With a deep bow,