Case 12

Dizang asked Xiushan, “Where do you come from?”
Xiushan said, “From the South.”
Dizang said, “How is Buddhism in the South these days?”
Xiushan said, “There’s extensive discussion.”
Dizang said, “How can that compare to me here planting the fields and making rice to eat?”
Xiushan said, “What can you do about the world?”
Dizang said, “What do you call the world?”
The Verse
Source and explanation variously are all made up;
Passing to ear from mouth, it comes apart.
Planting fields, making rice—ordinary household matters;
Only those who have investigated to the full would know—
Having investigated to the full, you clearly know there’s nothing to seek.
Zifang after all didn’t care to be enfeoffed as a marquis;
Forgetting his state he returned, same as fish and birds,
Washing his feet in the Canglang, the hazy waters of autumn.*

Attending to the matter at hand , dealing with this body- mind and this body mind only, sitting living being and relinquishing past and future, unleashing here and there: that is the making of a rice ball, the planting of a field. Because Buddha is real and alive in a single handful of soil, a cup filled with water. In our understanding-*
practice, shu sho i shi nyo, practice and awakening are one, countless sentient beings are displaying the treasure in full view.

The second aspect addressed by this koan is the need *To take care. Take care of the relative. Only through the relative can the absolute be. Don t be drunk with the absolute. Don t be sick with emptiness. Pay attention to weeding, *sewing, planting, watering. Today, it is grocery shopping and commuting and family life. Today, the relative shows the true value of mystical powers.

Concepts, words are manyfold, stitching your day, mending the fabric of reality now, giving yourself to the robe of everyday life is way beyond words of wisdom, way beyond discussions and philosophy.

This koan invites everyone to Plough her/his own field not *somebody elses. Cultivating the empty field.

What is the true world?*
So how do you plough the field of your own practice?
Can you catch yourself at over doing, over thinking?
How to forget one s state and return same ad fish and bird? Does this take a special effort?