Conceiving Interpretations Pursuant to Words

Here's another piece from Dahui's Shobogenzo, this one continues the theme about Soto and Rinzai distinguishing characteristics, probably the last on this for now.

Zhenjing was a Rinzai master in the forty-third generation in China. Whether his words about Soto are praise or criticism, well, that's a projective test.

The heart of his short discourse, though, comes later.

Warning: he's a really tough old geezer.


Master Zhenjing said to an assembly,

"In the [Soto] school of Dongshan you go when you need to go, sit when you need to sit; shitting in a bowl, puking in a pitcher; cultivating practice attached to dogma is like an ox pulling a millstone."

A monk asked, “What is Buddha?”

The teacher laughed out loud. The monk said, “What’s there to laugh about?”

The teacher said, “I’m laughing at you conceiving interpretation pursuant to words.”

The monk said, “I happen to have lost the advantage.”

The teacher said loudly, “Don’t bow.”

The monk then went back to the group. The teacher laughed again and said, “You’re conceiving interpretation pursuant to words.”

What isn't "conceiving interpretations pursuant to words"?