So if we’re willing to recognize that the boundless spring is on the hundred plants, then picking up what comes to hand, we can use it knowingly. Which simply means that we can use it in a way that is sufficient in and of itself and in harmony with what is actually going on. There is arranging found objects in a way that makes a sculpture, and then there is a way of taking these found objects—all of it—and creating the sixteen-foot-tall golden body: the Buddha, a being, a collection of virtuous qualities.

With that, we can, as the poem says, head into the red dust. We can recognize that we are already amidst the red dust of blood and tears and life and death and struggle and ease and joy and sorrow. When we use what is at hand, we are able to be masters of the red dust. I think of Peter Gabriel and the song “Red Rain.” It ends with the refrain: “Red rain is coming down over me, in the red, red, red sea.” Everywhere life is sufficient in its way. No matter if one is not as clever as others. No matter what.

The Book of Serenity or Shoyoroku is a collection of one hundred koans compiled during the 12th century and commented on by Master Wansong with poems by Master Hongzhi, both teachers in the Caodong (Soto) school of Zen.