No Finger No Moon!

I have been sitting with this small piece by Zen Master Ryokan. I love it. It has been a long time since I ventured into his work. However the other day, while passing though the library, a book as good as fell off the shelf.  And here I am – sitting with Ryokan again.

You see the moon by pointing your finger.
You recognize the finger by the moon.
The moon and the finger
are not different, not the same.
In order to guide a beginner,
this analogy is temporarily used.
When you have realized this,
there is no moon, no finger.

We must not allow ourselves to imagine that the moon and the finger are abandoned. Ever! However tempting it might be to think, or say, Oh yes, I know that, no finger no moon. Truth is we both do and don’t know, at the same time! I guess that’s why I’ve been sitting with this poem. Join me.

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4 thoughts on “No Finger No Moon!”

  1. Just love that poem: not sure I’d read it before, so looked it up.
    Thanks: I think I will read my ryokan book tonight. ( on my way out the door to weed flowers too beautiful to weed but too vigorous not to weed!)

  2. Thank you, Rev. Master Mugo, for this posting. I am instantly there with you and sense a certain RM Daizui smiling as well. I especially appreciate your pointing to the matter of neither the finger nor the moon being abandoned. Somehow this addresses a delicate concern within the human heart.

    In gassho, Jim

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