Book of Serenity 12

Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #12
Dizang Plants the Rice Field

  • LUOHAN "Dizang" Guichen (Rakan "Jizo" Keichin, 867-928, 14th gen), disciple of Xuansha
  • LONGJI "Xiushan" Shaoxin (Ryusai "Shuzan" Shoshu, 893-954, 15th gen), disciple of Luohan
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
Writers plow with the brush, speakers plow with the tongue.
We patch-robed monks are bored with seeing the white ox on the bare ground;
We pay no heed to the auspicious grass without root.
How should we spend the days?
Case (Wick)
Priest Luohan ("Dizang") asked Priest Longji ("Xiushan"), "Where did you come from?"
Longji replied, "I came from the South."
Luohan replied, "How is the Buddha-dharma down South these days?"
Longji answered, "There's a lot of debate going on."
Luohan said, "Here, it is better for me to plant the fields, make rice balls, and eat."[1]
Longji asked, "What about the three worlds?"[2]
Luohan replied, "What is it that you call the three worlds?"
[1] “How could that match with my planting the rice field here and making rice-balls to eat?” (Sato).
[2] “How could you then save the [beings of the] Three Worlds?” (Sato); "What can you do about the world?" (Cleary).

Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
Zen discussions numerous, altogether artificial;
flowing between mouth and ear they cause separation.
Planting the field, making rice-balls -- an everyday affair:
unless replete with his inquiry, a person can't know it.
Replete with his inquiry, he knows for sure there is nothing to seek;
General Zifang after all didn't value awards of rank.
Activity forgotten, having returned, he's like the fish and birds;
washing his feet in the smoky Soro waters of autumn.
Sturmer's Verse
Taking Two slices of toast
out of the toaster,
geting my father-in-law
who has Parkinson's
his morning pills --
the world begins again
with clear sunlight
and ants on the kitchen bench.

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