No Moon, No Finger

If you hang out in spiritual circles of a Buddhist or nondual flavor, at some point  someone usually mentions  ” the finger pointing to the moon “.

Others around you may nod and smile as if they know something, as if they have “got it”. Most of the time, no one nodding really knows where the reference comes from, or even who wrote it; the  Zen monk and poet, Ryokan. (1758 – 1831)

I love Ryokan – he speaks to my heart across the centuries as if we both stood together, enjoying the same timeless moment of lunar radiance under the clear night sky.

Thanks to the Poetry Chaikhana Site for this gem.

                                                   No moon, no finger…

                                             You stop to point to the moon in the sky,                                             but the finger’s blind unless the moon is shining.

One moon, one careless finger pointing —
are these two things or one?

The question is a pointer guiding
a novice from ignorance thick as fog.

Look deeper. The mystery calls and calls:
No moon, no finger — nothing there at all.


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The Poetry Chaikhana site is here :

For more on Ryokan, please visit WORDS FROM THE WIND  by Adam J. Pearson. :

About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
This entry was posted in Fascinating People, Human Experience, No self, Poetry & Free Verse, Zen and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to No Moon, No Finger

  1. Pingback: The Great Fool of Zen Rokyan: Zen Moments #7 « Ritu’s Weblog

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