The Ten Oxherding Pictures are an ancient allegory for the process of enlightenment. This article analyzes the series of ten paintings through the lenses of Jungian psychology and alterity studies to suggest an unorthodox interpretation of the images. This interpretation highlights the relationship between the oxherd and the ox, suggesting that the ox is a wild other that seeks intersubjective understanding. In questioning the meaning of domestication in these images, this investigation deconstructs the traditional allegory of enlightenment as a process of domestication, suggesting that these images instead point towards the importance of releasing the appropriative attitude. Ultimately, the oxherd in the series must surrender his perceptual lens to make space for what seems untamed and unencompassable to speak to and through him.
Granovetter, Sara, "Wild Otherness Within: A Jungian and Zen Approach to the Untamed Self in the Ten Oxherding Pictures" (2023). International Journal of Transpersonal Studies Advance Publication Archive. 75.