This story of The Ten Ox Herding Paintings originated in twelfth-century China. Accompanied with poetry and text, these paintings depict the process of going through practice (meditation as a path to enlightenment) divided into ten simple steps.
The paintings adorn the walls of Buddhist temples; the poetry and text are used today in teaching practice. Countless versions of the paintings exist, and volumes have been written on the theme. The consensus is that we are all seekers on the same pilgrimage of self-discovery.
A brave young lady named Alice sets off on her pilgrimage, not knowing where, not certain why. This takes enormous courage that most of us struggle to find. Many of her Wonderland friends gather round, offering advice to help Alice on her journey. Throw in a helping hand from some of our spiritual masters, gods, Buddhas, gurus, roshis, philosophers, poets, and writers, and finally Alice may be ready to answer a profound pondering of her creator, Lewis Carroll, when he asks:
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that is the great puzzle.”