Fingers pointing at the moon

The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng: "I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra (wikipedia) for many years, yet there are many areas I do not quite understand. Please enlighten me."

Huineng: I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning.

nun: You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?

Huineng: Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon's location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?

Language and words are merely symbols with which to express the truth. But to mistake words for the truth is just as laughable as to mistake the finger for the moon.

六祖: 我不认识字,请您把经文念出来,或许在下可以略解其中的真理。
无尽藏尼: 你连字都不认识,如何能了解其中的真理?
六祖: 真理是与文字无关的!真理像天上的明月。而文字却像您我的手指。手指可以指出明月的所在,但手指却不是明月,看月也不一定透过手指,不是吗?


蔡志忠动画禅说指月的喻语- 视频- 酷6视频


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