Finger and moon


One day, a nun named Wujincang asked the sixth Zen patriarch Huineng:

– I have been studying the Nirvana sutra for years and years, and there are still some passages that I don’t quite understand. Do you think you could explain them to me?

– I am sorry, but I can’t read. If you can read the passages out for me , I will see if I can help you understand them.

– If you cannot even read the words, how can you understand the truth behind them?

-The truth and the words are unrelated. The truth can be compared to the moon. And words can be compared to a finger. I can use my finger to point out the moon, but my finger is not the moon, and you don’t need my finger to see the moon, do you?

(To mistake words for the truth is almost as ridiculous as as mistaking a finger for the moon.)

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
This entry was posted in non-duality, spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Finger and moon

  1. Good Deed says:

    Great post. Short, but I enjoyed it like it’s a book. Very wise…

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