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Sign posts to the moon

A young spiritual learner was out for a walk with a wise old master and his dog. The evening was peaceful and cool. They walked in silence.

After some time the novice says to the wise master, “I have been learning various spiritual teachings on meditation and mindfulness”.

The master nods his head.

The novice then confesses that he has recently become lost with meditation.  That the more he studies, the more lost he becomes.  The various teachings say different things.  So  now, he does not know what to do anymore.

“Wise master”, he asks.  “Do I look at the tip of my nose? or do I close my eyes? do I sit or stand? please tell me which approach is best and end this confusion”.

The master smiles. He the points to the moon and commands his dog to look at the moon. The dog simply stares at his pointing finger.

The master then explains, “Words are conceptualisation and are merely pointers to something beyond; do not focus on the pointing fingers or you will never find the moon”.

 

-x-

“All words about spiritual values are just hints. Don’t hold onto the words as if they are realities. They are hints, almost the way I can point to the moon with my finger – but don’t catch hold of my finger. My finger is not the moon. Although my finger was pointing to the moon, it was only a hint.”

Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance

Toshidama Gallery

Toshidama Gallery

 

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36 Comments »

  1. I’ve always loved this story and am always refreshed by re-reading. It is a constant reminder to keep my eyes fixed on what matters, to not get caught up in legalism and trivialities. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

      • I don’t remember when I first heard it. Reminds me also of the saying, “The Raft is Not The Shore” which I first read in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh and Catholic priest Daniel Berrigan.

        Like

      • That made me smile, a lovely phrase too., short, profound and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Simple wisdom brings about a feeling of ‘wow’, its a joy.

        Like

  2. I’ve always loved this story and am always refreshed by re-reading. It is a constant reminder to keep my eyes fixed on what matters, to not get caught up in legalism and trivialities. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

      • I don’t remember when I first heard it. Reminds me also of the saying, “The Raft is Not The Shore” which I first read in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh and Catholic priest Daniel Berrigan.

        Like

      • That made me smile, a lovely phrase too., short, profound and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Simple wisdom brings about a feeling of ‘wow’, its a joy.

        Like

  3. I have to agree. Guidelines should be treated as guidelines. I was raised in a very rigidly religious family and for a long time became distracted by the details of ritualistic prayer and sacrament. But for meditation methods, it’s always best to do what feels best and is easiest for the individual. I became especially attuned to this truth after I began to study reiki and yoga. Every is soul is different. Every body is different. We must be ourselves and the universe will adjust (and vice versa)

    Like

    • Yes! It took me a while to realise that it’s okay to not dogmatically follow tradition. I suppose it’s an aspect of being non-judgemental with ourselves and others. Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Like

  4. I have to agree. Guidelines should be treated as guidelines. I was raised in a very rigidly religious family and for a long time became distracted by the details of ritualistic prayer and sacrament. But for meditation methods, it’s always best to do what feels best and is easiest for the individual. I became especially attuned to this truth after I began to study reiki and yoga. Every is soul is different. Every body is different. We must be ourselves and the universe will adjust (and vice versa)

    Like

    • Yes! It took me a while to realise that it’s okay to not dogmatically follow tradition. I suppose it’s an aspect of being non-judgemental with ourselves and others. Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Like

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