Wednesday, January 2, 2013

'No Moon, No Finger,' by Ryokan

You stop to point at 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.

Ryokan (1758-1831) was a Zen master & poet in Japan. His poetry is widely appreciated.

The above poem is taken from 'The Poetry of Zen' by Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton, and translated by the former. For a review of this wonderful little book, please click here: Review: The Poetry of Zen

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