"This body is not me"
I read these great lines in a Buddhist chanting book today:
This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
I wonder how many people read those lines and really believe them? I don't know why most people become Buddhists, but I consider myself very fortunate to have had many experiences where I can read these lines and at least feel like I know what they mean.
My guess is that many people come to Buddhism because they have a feeling that is similar to the beginning of the movie The Matrix -- you know there's something else going on, but you just can't put your finger on it. There's a similar feeling with Buddhism, where you find certain sign posts in the books that somehow seem vaguely familiar, and so you follow them.
In my case, again, I feel very fortunate because I had these personal experiences that just made me go "wow, what the bleep was that?", and over time, and through a lot of research, those experiences led me to these same Buddhist texts.
Putting these two backgrounds in the context of the story of the Ten Bulls, my guess is that most Buddhist students begin their practice with the first story, and then progress through the following stages. They might jump around a little bit, but it's generally steps 1 to 10.
In my case, I feel like was thrown in somewhere around the fifth or seventh story as a teenager, and was then told to deal with it, lol. So a lot of what I've had to do since then is back-tracking, but I'm very cool with that, because I can read those lines above, and go yeah, I know that, but then what else is going on here? So in that way, not having some of the foundation has hurt me, but hey, I'm working on it. :)