Phone Finger

02023-06-06 | Buddhism, Philosophy | 3 comments

Once you get the message, hang up the phone.
—Alan Watts

It is said that when a finger is pointed at moon, one should look at the moon, not the finger.

Ryokan writes about the finger and the moon in the following poem:

Relying upon a finger, we see the moon
Relying upon the moon, we understand the finger.
Moon and finger
Are neither the same nor different.
This expedient analogy is for guiding beginners.
Having seen reality as it is,
There is neither moon nor finger.

You can find out more about his poem here: LINK

More about Ryokan in this Diary: Parallels, Autumn


  1. JaneParham

    Seems to be the complete answer to our recent discussion of “Beliefs.” Love it.

  2. anne

    Alan Watts complete quote is..

    “If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.”

    Ryokan , i think, is trying to point out the same – nonduality

    • anne

      Global data indicates Buddhism is on the decline – an interesting stat.


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