Drama of Clay

Anger_0414th century Korean Buddhist master Paegun wrote:

Two clay oxen fight each other,

Then they jump into the sea, bellowing.

Past, Present and Future rush in after

But can’t find them in the roiled water.

What are these four lines about? I think these lines are about the impermanence (a favorite Buddhist theme) – about the impermanence of what we are, about the impermanence of our reactions, about the impermanence of the existential drama that we are embroiled in. Like clay, the past, the present and the future dissolve in the roiling sea of time. And, like clay oxen, our egos resist the idea of our own impermanence. In so doing, we angrily resist our own liberation.

Adapted from Anger Management Jumpstart: a 4-Session Mindfulness Path to Compassion and Change (Somov, 2013, PESI Publications)

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Drama of Clay

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2019). Drama of Clay. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
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