illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, "I have studied the Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra for many years, yet there are many sections where the meaning still eludes me. Please enlighten me."
The patriarch responded, "I am illiterate. Please read out the passage for me first, then perhaps I may unveil its meaning for you."
The astonished nun asked "If you cannot even read a passage, how are you able to understand its meaning?"
"Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth is like the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon. However, the finger is not the moon. To see the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, isn't it?"
« When a person gains enlightenment, it is like the moon reflecting on water: the moon does not become wet, nor is the water ruffled. Even though the moon gives immense and far-reaching light, it is reflected in a puddle of water. The full moon and the entire sky are reflected in a dewdrop on the grass. Just as enlightenment does not hinder a person, the moon does not hinder the water. »
« The monkey is reaching for the moon in the water. Until death overtakes him, he'll never give up. If he'd let go the branch and disappear in the deep pool, the whole world would shine with dazzling pureness. »
photo © Scott? (scottsk.wordpress.com/)