When these ten pictures moved from China to Japan, the tenth picture was dropped, because the tenth picture is really outrageous.
To me, only the tenth picture means something. All these nine pictures are the preparation; in the tenth picture the man is so happy that he has found his bull that he is going to the pub – just to enjoy the evening.
The Buddhists of Japan must have been a little afraid; this tenth picture is too outrageous. But the tenth picture is only symbolic. He is not going to take the drug called “ecstasy”; this bottle of wine that he is carrying is simply a symbol. When one becomes absolutely centered, one is almost drunk, drunk with an inner ecstasy.
Many have reported to me that when you get up after your meditation, “We feel a little drunk.” You start moving towards the canteen, but you can see people standing by the side; they are wobbly, they don’t know what is happening. Because everybody is going towards the canteen they join them, but not absolutely certain whether they want to go there or not. But because everybody else is going there, it is better to keep company….
It is dangerous to go out of the ashram. The police can get hold of you: “You are drunk!” You may say that, “I have been in ecstasy,” and they will say, “Yes, that’s what we are saying. You have taken the drug ecstasy. Just come along with us to the police station!”
I love the tenth picture, and I want Japanese Zen masters not to forget it, because that is the ultimate experience. That is a kind of drunkenness you never overcome. It becomes your very nature. You can dance, you can sing, you can rejoice. It is inexhaustible.
These ten pictures are called “the ten-bodied herdsman,” because with every new experience you enter into a new layer of your body. The man whose bull has been lost in the first picture is just on the superficial body. As he finds the footprints, he has entered a little deeper. As he finds that the bull is hiding behind a tree, he has entered a little deeper still.
These are layers upon layers of body – just like an onion. You can peel it…a fresh layer. Peel it again…another fresh layer. Go on peeling. Finally you will find nothing in the end, but empty hands. All the layers have been taken away. The onion consists only of layers.
The body also consists only of layers. Ten layers of the body…and you enter into a space which can only be called ecstasy. Then you are drunk forever, for the whole eternity to come.
I teach you drunkenness. There is no need for a man who has tasted his own inner being to take any drugs or alcohol.