Only a few have heard that "painted rice cakes do not satisfy hunger" and none have really understood what it meant. I've asked several of these skin bags about it and everybody was quite certain about it without even bothering to look into it. They were like someone overhearing a conversation that they were not involved in. You should understand that this "painted rice cake" is the face that you were born with and the Original Face you had before your parents were even born. A rice cake, although made of rice, is neither born nor unborn, neither exists nor does not. As a rice cake, it is the moment displaying itself as impermanence; and yet what it is as such never moves. It cannot be understood if it is only understood as something that comes and goes.
In painting a rice cake you use the same materials as you would to paint a landscape. You can use blue pigment to paint mountains and rivers and powdered rice to paint a rice cake. The work of composition is the same. This being so, sesame cakes, vegetable cakes, milk cakes and so on are all this "painted rice cake." There is no difference between paintings, rice cakes, or any thing at all and you should understand that these rice cakes in front of you that you are about to eat are all "painted rice cakes." If you are looking for these "painted rice cakes" anywhere else you still don't know how to eat a rice cake. Sometimes they appear as rice cakes, sometimes not. However, they completely transcend any coming or going, old or new and it is in this that the realm of "painted rice cakes" reveals itself.
"Hunger" which is "not satisfied" means that, although we are not bound to the conditions of contingent existence, somehow we do not know that we are encountering "painted rice cakes" and so, even though we eat these "painted cakes" we are still "hungry." "Hunger" means that we have distanced ourselves from "painted cakes" but there is no need to try to satisfy this "hunger" because there is really nothing lacking. This "hunger" is what presents itself as all of the changing manifestations of confused experience. But "painted rice cakes" display themselves as this whole bodymind; blue, yellow, red, and white; long, short; round, and square.
The entire universe with all of its events is only a painted picture. People and all beings arise there and Awakened Ones and Ancestors Wake Up and become what they are through it. So, if there is no "painted rice cake" there is no way to "satisfy hunger." Without this painting of "hunger" how can you meet the True Person? If there is no painting of "satisfaction" how can there be the energy of Awakening? Without "painted rice cakes" how could you ever "satisfy hunger," "satisfy non-hunger," "not satisfy hunger," and "not satisfy non-hunger?" You should practice this whole world as a "painted rice cake."
(Translation: Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin)