The University of Wisconsin Press

Diaries & Journals / Spirituality

Ox Herding in Wisconsin
Richard Quinney

A guide to mindful living, inspired by the Buddhist parable of ox herding

This is a daybook inspired by the parable of ox herding, the search for one’s true self. For a long time, writers, artists, and students of Buddhism have found spiritual guidance in the herding of the ox. This metaphorical ox herding is a guide for a year of living and observing, arriving at awareness and understanding.

In Ox Herding in Wisconsin, Richard Quinney writes meditatively about his experiences of everyday life. In the course of the seasons of a year, he carefully notes the daily news, seasonal changes in nature, family history, personal health and aging, poetry and music, and spiritual development. The observations and writings of classical and contemporary writers enrich the book, offering insights and epiphanies for the Wisconsin ox herder. Illustrated with images both found and newly created, Ox Herding in Wisconsin provides sustenance for the contemplative journey close to home.

“I know the writing that is good and severe discipline. Many times writing has been for me about the only discipline I had or needed, and it was good. In the telling of the story—in the writing—I have been able to consider carefully what I am experiencing in my life. Writing is a way to understand the experience, to learn from it, and a way to go on.”
—excerpt from Ox Herding in Wisconsin

Portrait of author Richard Quinney deep in thoughtRichard Quinney is the author of several books that combine autobiographical writing and photography, including Journey to a Far Place, For the Time Being, Borderland, Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing, A Lifetime Burning, and A Farm in Wisconsin. His retrospective book of photographs, Things Once Seen, received the August Derleth Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734.

Of related interest:
the cover of Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing is blue, with an inset photo of a Wisconsin farm.Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing
Richard Quinney
“No matter how much—and how far—I have removed myself from the farm, I return repeatedly out of great need. To know my father—to know myself. To respect us both.”—excerpt from Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing


February 2013

192 pp.   5 5/8 x 8 1/8  
12 b/w illus.

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Paper $20.00 t
ISBN 978-0-9835174-2-9
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Updated January 3, 2013

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