Ten Oxherding Pictures: Stages in a Spiritual Journey
with Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei
May 8, 2021
The spiritual path comes alive pictorially in Zen’s famed 10 Oxherding pictures. The series of images portrays a young oxherder whose quest leads them to discover, subdue and train a wild ox—their own heart and mind—as a complete transformation. The ox is awakening and the herder is you—the meditator, the searcher—encountering the gritty reality and challenges of spiritual practice.
Created by 12th-century Chinese Master Guo-an Shi-yuan, the Oxherding pictures have mapped the path for Buddhist practitioners ever since. Although the images are presented in a sequence, it’s important to know that neither self-development nor Zen practice go in a straight line. More like a spiral, we circle back to different stages but with more understanding. All along the path, these images are a bottomless source of mysterious wisdom we can study again and again for inspiration.
In our sessions we will touch on a brief history and see a few collections by different artists, then focus on the Oxherding pictures painted by Jikihara Sensei which he created in 1982 while visiting the Monastery, along with the corresponding poems composed by Shi -yuan. Then we will be guided to create our own set of images along with the accompanying poems placing ourselves right onto our own journey. What will be your material to express this? What will this oxherder image look like? What about these footprints?
You will need a few supplies: We will work on paper and this can be any kind of paper in any shape. It can be a brown paper bag opened up, even newspaper. Have a variety of mark-making materials—pens, pencils, paint—and a choice pen to copy the poems. We will begin on ZOOM and then continue to work on or off in our home studio spaces with a share of the work at the close the day.
Saturday, May 8th: 10am-noon and 1:30-3pm
Donations are appreciated to help support our efforts during this time.
A Zen priest, Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received transmission of the Precepts from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She currently serves as MRO Director of Training and co-Director of the Zen Center of NYC. Before entering the Monastery in 1990, Hojin Sensei studied fine art and trained under legendary ceramicist Toshiku Takaezu, among others. Over the years she has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, and continues to teach on the creative process within the Mountains and Rivers Order.
Learn more about Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei