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