Sozan asked, “What is the thing beneath paper clothes?”
Shie Doja said, “When just a leather garment
is put on the body, all things are of their suchness.”
Sozan said, “What is the activity beneath paper clothes?”
He has not understood the answer that Doja has given. The moment you move beneath your bodies, which are nothing but paper clothes, what you find is pure suchness – tathata, thisness: a tremendously beautiful space but no entity as an ego, a space without boundaries, full of joy, full of peace, full of benediction.
But it is not a thing, you cannot hold it in your hand. It is not an object; it is your very subjectivity. It is your very innermost consciousness.
Shie Doja came near him, did as he was asked…
He was asked by Sozan, “What is the activity beneath paper clothes?” He stood before Sozan…
…and died standing up.
He left the body, which remained simply a hollow bamboo without any music.
Sozan said, “You have expounded the going…”
Certainly these people were strange people, worthy of respect and dignity of all the centuries. Doja has died to show that which is hidden inside. He left the body, but Sozan is not a lesser master than Doja. Sozan said, “You have expounded…”
“Look, a dead body is standing before you, and he is asking…”
“You have expounded the going…
…but how about the coming?
Perhaps such a conversation never happened. A dead man is standing before you and you are asking a question.