Don't Look At The Finger
A Zen Koan.
The Zen teacher often played with his dog in the evening.
The dog would run ahead to fetch a stick, then run back. He'd wag his tail and wait for the next game.
On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him — a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.
“You must understand” — said the teacher — “that words are only guideposts"
"Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth"
The boy did not understand.
To better explain, the teacher called over his happy dog.
“Fetch me the moon” — he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon.
“Where is my dog looking?” — asked the teacher?
“He’s looking at your finger”
"Don’t be like the dog — don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at. All our Buddhist words are only guideposts. Every man fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.”
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