"The Oxherd Boy" is predominantly grounded in the Three Harmonious Teachings or 三教合一 (sān jiào hé yī ), which is the foundation of classical Chinese education.
We learn to understand and apply the merits of or even combine philosophies from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, into our daily lives. The goal is to develop peaceful relationships with nature, with society, and with ourselves.
However, that doesn't mean disagreement doesn't take place. Part of the art of applying the Three Teachings is debating and deciding which wisdom to apply to each situation. Conflicts do arise, but it is part of the process to surface the wisest solutions as the situation demands
The ox is a strong and simple character whose outlook in life primarily reflects Buddhist law that everyone shares the same experience of suffering of impermanence and therefore, is capable of compassion.
The boy is an innocent, harmonious character who looks at the world from a perspective of duality and balance that underscores Taoist teachings.
The rabbit is an active character who is concerned not with the spirit, but rather with how we treat and look after each other, as supported by Confucian thought.
About the Creator
Regina Linke is a Taiwanese American artist specializing in Chinese gongbi-style painting, an ancient form of brush painting that depicts narrative subjects in colorful high detail. She enjoys writing and illustrating stories that celebrate East Asian folklore and philosophy in a modern way. Regina lives with her family in Rhode Island, in the United States.