This post contains the images I am using to memorise the verses of Chapter 9 of Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of Life. See here for an explanation of the images used.

Chapter 9 – Wisdom

Verse 1

Buddha holding a owl in his hand. The owl fits into his hand and is pecking at a bun. This verse is about how Buddha taught the method practices so we can complete the training in wisdom realising emptiness.

Verse 2

An owl wearing a ridiculously large pair of shiny black shoes, with the words ‘conventional’ and ‘ultimate’ written across the toes. This verse introduces the two truths and defines emptiness.

Verse 3

An owl in a tree, with two persons sitting on branches too; a Madhyamika Prasangika yogi and a proponent of things. This verse introduces the notion of two different believers in the two truths.

Verse 4

An owl opening a door to find two two Prasangika yogis, one sitting on the head of the other, the upper one having greater understanding. This verse talks about how there are different levels of insight of yogis, however they all rely upon valid analytical reasoning.

Verse 5

An owl sitting on a bee hive, addressing a proponent of things, explaining where they differ in view. In this verse the proponents of things are informed about how they view things incorrectly.

Verse 6

An owl sitting within a necker cube made of sticks, explaining about the true nature of things. The sticks are wrapped in paper (forms) and in the foreground is a sea with false teeth, correspondence and a human body floating in it. This verse explains why things are not really as they appear.

Verse 7

An owl sitting in a heavenly cloud, gesturing as smaller clouds which are impermanent, and disappearing as we watch. Below the cloud are people wearing collars and leads. There is a question mark cloud at the bottom right of the image, indicating a question. Magnus Magnusson dressed in a white suit is sitting on the cloud saying, in a clipped voice ‘Incorrect!’.

Verse 8

Owl gate

An owl sitting on a wooden gate. Under the gate is a crack in the ground – a fault, which closes up. There are people balanced on blow up balls which are actually worlds, as if in a circus. They are moving around and bumping into the gate. In the gate are written the words REAL and REALITY.

Verse 9

Owl Sign

There are two large signs pointing in opposite directions, and the owl is sitting rather uncomfortably with one foot on each. One sign has ‘Truly existent’ on it and the other has ‘Illusion-like’ and each have offerings in front of them.  There is a third sign in the bottom right hand corner, with ‘living beings and rebirth’ written on it.

Verse 10

Owl hen

An owl is next to a hen. The owl is providing the hen with hair conditioner bottles, with which it is assembling  a nest – the nest is coming into being. In front of the nest are people with their hands in prayer (virtuous) with big timer knobs on their chests – some are of longer duration.

Verse 11

Owl, Hen, Bun

The owl is talking to the hen, who is guiltily hiding a bun under a wing. They are standing in the mud of a concentration camp. Two soldiers are next to them pointing rifles at two prisoners standing against a wall. One is an illusion and does not have a mind, the other illusion-like and has an illusion-like mind.

Verse 12

Owl, Hen, Shoe

The owl is talking to the hen, which is making a nest in a shiny black shoe. It polishes the shoe with its wing and it is so shiny is has reflections of necker cubes in a circle, like a mantra. Also reflected in the shoe are the logos of nspcc, rspca, WWF etc. They are different causes giving rise to different effects.

Verse 13

Owl, Hen, Tree

The owl is on the ground looking up at a tree. The hen is in the tree on a branch which has an apple, a pear and a peach (a variety of results) growing on it. Next to the hen is a branch which is in the shape of a number one (single). The bottom right hand-most branch is in the shape of a question, and from it the words nirvana and samsara appear on leaves. Nirvana is crossed out.

Verse 14

Owl, Hen, Door

The owl is alongside a chicken coop, and the hen is popping its head and neck out through the door. All of a sudden the hen is roughly pushed aside by a proponent of things who concludes his question. The owl stands on a balance scales and balances evenly, gets out a string puppet which is a necker cube, and a pair of scissors, and delivers his answer. One of the strings has been dragged through a swamp (samsara) and the other has the word ‘delusions’ printed on it. He severs them dramatically at the end of the verse.

Verse 15

Owl, Hen, Hive

The owl looks at the hen, who is infront of a hive and has bees crawing all over it, in its feathers – it tickles and the hen is giggling. The owl ignores this spectacle and continues its answer. He points to a swamp representing samsara, and a convention hall balanced on a scales. He then gestures to Buddhas above, who have done this. The proponent of things wags his finger at the owl and produces an illusion-like piece of paper – a form.