Taigu Ryokan

You Stop To Point At The Moon In The Sky

Taigu Ryokan was born in the Echigo (now Nigata) Province of northern Japan in 1785. The son of the village headman -- a successful merchant and haiku poet of some note -- Ryokan was schooled in Japanese and Chinese literature as well as religion and calligraphy. When he was eighteen years old Ryok…

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.

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