How could we discuss
This and that
The whole world is
reflected In a single pearl
This verse from Ryokan and translated by Kaz Tanahashi provides the best way to enter this case.
The teacher or if you prefer, life itself, always asks us to present, display, show our realization- being rather than talk about it.
When Enkan asks his student to fetch the Rhinoceros- horn fan, he is asking for the instantaneous presentation of the field of realization- being. The attendant displays humbly his inadequacy, his lack of ability, the fan, it as well as he ...are broken. Then, Enkan leaps further, asking for the real thing, the rhinoceros itself.
Here the attendant is totally fooled by his own idea of the Dharma..."I have to display the real thing, I as a person, should be able to get that and present it to the teacher." What Ensan is teaching is so profound and radical, he is implying that no matter who you are, how inadequate you are, the real thing can still be displayed. Even better, a broken fan is the way to manifest the real thing. How come?
In a famous chapter of Shobogenzo, only a Buddha and a Buddha, Dogen starts saying: "Buddha Dharma cannot be known by a person" please, read this chapter and you will understand that only birds can read the traces of birds, that to follow the way, the person has to disappear, the fan has to be thrown away. It is very much like in my pet- poem from Li Po:
The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.
This is the real meaning of the appreciatory verse, the ox within the moon- circle is prior to everything else. Please read the Ten Oxherding pictures, or listen to my stupid talks:
How do you throw away the fan? Because as long as there is a person to throw away something, the fan is still there. How do I throw away the fan without hands and head?
Thank you for your patience