for the Bull
drawings that are shown here represent the steps that lead to spiritual
illumination. These are modern versions of those by painter
Tomikichiro Tokuriki. He himself created them based on the original drawings
by Chinese Master Chino Kukuan, from the XII century; and these from previous
symbolize the combination of the sacred and the profane. The bull represents
the animal nature in every human being, it is united to the spiritual
nature. The struggle to harmonize the physical impulses and appetites
is equivalent to also integrating those of the spirit. The student can
use the images to evaluate his advancement or discover in which stage
of the spiritual path he is at.
image : The Search for the Bull
(There are variations in the drawings of the bull and the
names given to each stage. I will use "man/men/his/he"
in generic form, representing both men and women. Trans.)
stage represents man when he still doesn't know his true nature,
but one way or another, has already started his search. He wishes
to find it, though he doesn't even know what it is, nor is he sure
of recognizing it when he finds it. Sometimes he experiments with
the search as an escape from his present circumstances, that in
general are not pleasant. Life as it is, is a heavy load and - he
thinks - surely there must be a better way of living. Most of those
that have started the "search" are at this stage.
image: Finding the path
this stage, the searcher finds indications, clues in one or more
spiritual traditions, he is attracted by books of wisdom, he assists
to conferences on the subject, he meets masters and notices that
there are others that have followed the same path, he is not the
first person to have noticed that there is something subtle to attain.
This stage, generally, starts with yoga practice, meditation or
other disciplines. Through these he experiences sensations related
to the spirit. In the first image the farmer searches all over,
without a specific order, whereas in the second image his search
is more focussed and better oriented.
image: The first glimpse.
would be considered the first spiritual experience, the student
gets to see his true self and feel the kundalai energy that
awakens within him. It is equivalent to the first contact with the
master that initiates him or transmits him his energy. Kundalai
energy is both physical and spiritual in nature. The searcher's
objective will be to elevate this energy towards his consciousness
instead of repressing or eliminating the animal within. This first
insight can also originate from religious experiences in the form
of celestial visions. As a summary, the first sight is any kind
of vision or unusual experience that stimulates the individual to
follow the path towards that which is transcendental.
image: Capturing the bull
farmer has caught the animal but it is still stubborn and does not
follow him. He has finally caught it but it is obstinate and uncontrolled.
Its energy and decision are relentless, at times it runs toward
the hills, at other times it stays unmovable in deep impenetrable
valleys. It symbolizes our struggle with our basic nature, something
that can last a whole lifetime. At this stage a person must analyse
if he is advancing and attaining a clearer understanding or he is
simply stuck and protecting himself behind certain doctrines or
ideas related to spiritual practice.
image: Taming the bull
represents the control of our physical or animal nature, this is
attained by knowing it, in other words, listening and dialoging
with it. The farmer is now directing the bull with the reins and
controls it to the extent that the bull lets himself be guided.
Little by little the man becomes the master. What he does at this
stage is unite his conciousness with the animal nature (basic nature).
For example, a professional animal trainer knows that using force
you do not tame the animal, only harmonizing his conciousness with
the animal conscience can he attain that. This is why many of the
effective spiritual development formulas do not try to conquer,
dominate, destroy or eliminate the ego, rather they teach you to
live in harmony with it. Actually, it is the ego or the mind itself,
that promotes the search of one's Self and it must go through all
the stages. Thus to talk about eliminating it is absurd.
image: Riding the bull home
the Hindu culture, Gods and Goddesses are represented riding on
animals as their vehicle. The animal symbolizes the inferior nature
that the man dominates and with which he has a good relationship.
One must feed and take care of the biological part of our being,
without abusing nor relaxing too much. This way the physical vital
force becomes an ally. In the drawing we can see how the man is
riding the bull without reins, the bull knows where to go and that's
where it goes without being directed. He is playing the flute placidly
on the back of the bull. The struggle is over, the man has attained
the state of enlightment.
image: The trascended bull
farmer is alone and happy, sitting by his house, the bull is no
longer visible. The man has become one with the Being. Instead of
the former efforts, a state of peace and happiness reigns.
is a recurring or temporal experience of unity, beyond dualities.
It is an exceptional state of conscience. When we live in a dual
world, we always experience the opposites: inside - out, happiness
- saddness, success - failure, etc. Duality starts with birth and
ends with death. Actually, we live not only in duality, but rather
multiplicity. Whereas transcendence implies a unity experience,
not duality, not multiplicity, that shows us our true nature.
image: The bull and Self trascended
has fused itself into nothingness. We can only observe a circle,
with nothing inside, which means all opposites have disappeared.
At this stage the man can't even say "I'm illuminated"
or "I'm not illuminated", they don't exist for him, Unity
is all that exists.
image: Back to the origin
this image we can see nature in all its splendour, flowers, birds,
the river, mountains. It represents what happens after the trascendental
experience. Outside the illuminated man, nothing has changed, only
man himself has been transformed. He reenters life with different
eyes, a new center with another focus guides him. Each time he so
wishes he can go within himself and see life through it. All is
image: In the world
after attaining the state of illumination, almost didn't come out
again and return to the world. His compassion for all beings finally
took hold and the rest of his life he dedicated to intense social
work that transformed culture and society in his time. In this drawing
the illuminated man now directs himself to other beings to help
them. He puts all his wisdom at their service.