​WORDS ARE ONLY GUIDEPOSTS

EVERY MAN FIGHTS HIS WAY THROUGH OTHER MEN’S WORDS TO FIND HIS OWN TRUTH

The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master. The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game.

On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.

“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth. Here, I’ll show you.”

With that the teacher called his happy dog. “Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full

moon. “Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher of the bright pupil.

“He’s looking at your finger,” answered the Zen student.

“Exactly. Don’t be like my dog. Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at. “All our Buddhist words and terms are only guideposts. Everyman fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.”

I love this story because it’s my story too – I use Buddhist terms in my writings because sometimes they are the most accurate to the meaning intended, where even translation falls short of the meaning and referents intended therewith since all languages are not equal. Different languages have shortcomings when it comes to explaining terms that relate to enlightenment; and Buddhist terms and names oftenly appear to be potent of the perfect meaning being pointed at. The teaching of enlightenment and meditation is the hardest endeavor since one has to use the words to point the reader or audience to a certain subtle experience whose immanence is best understood through one’s own experience of Thatness as opposed to hanging and clinging onto other’s words and guidance. Hence to communicate great experiences, words have to be user extensively; yet words themselves should be transcended of one really desires an authentic experience of Suchness.

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