(being a personal summary of the Zen story of the Ten Bulls*)
- As the youngest, it was my job to find the cattle each evening and bring them back to the barn. The herd might be anywhere across the rolling hills.
- I’d walk and walk until I found fresh dung or perhaps caught a glimpse of them far away.
- As I got closer, I’d hear the lowing of one cow or another and top a hill to see them, not hiding from me, but merely being where they happened to be.
- How to get the attention of a herd of cattle? How to move more than a hundred cows each weighing over a thousand pounds? I’d walk slowly to a place opposite the barn that I needed to drive them to. I was an intrusion on the evening the cattle had planned.
- Abruptly, I’d yell and wave my arms and stamp my feet and cause a ruckus. The nearest cow or two would move away, pushing the next few, until the whole herd had moved a few feet toward the barn.
- After each had been moved a bit, it was as if they all realized that evening was upon them and they wanted to go toward the barn. All I had to do was follow and encourage them, waving my walking stick at any strays.
- No need to drive them then—they wanted to see the barn, where they would enjoy fresh water and fresh hay.
- I learned to be effortless in my roundup, a part of the landscape and the day that the herd encountered.
- I never got a thank you or a “well done” from my family. It was my job—I was the youngest. How I got the job done was up to me.
- Seeing the lay of the land. Where the herd is. The way to go. The moment for quiet, the moment for noise, and the moment merely to walk.
*for Ten Bull illustrations, see https://terebess.hu/english/bulls.html