The intention of Zen is not to rescue us from life but to bring us into the midst of our human experience. The closer we get to life, to our core humanity, the closer we get to Manjusri’s great sword.
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form: this is no recipe for withdrawal, but rather for total immersion.
That’s why in the last three or four ox-herding pictures, that long-sought ox has vanished altogether. He’s not needed. He was only ever a way, a means, a decoy – a way of ferrying us right into the heart of our existence. Don’t be deceived. Do your practice. Whatever it takes, learn to sit in the fire of the Three Treasures. Pick and choose no more. Whole Ox Zen. Let it burn.