One-finger Awakening

Yutang Lin

Only raising one finger in reply to inquiries;
One real bone of Buddha sheds all illusions.
Beyond time and space form no longer form;
All, in oneness of Dharmakaya, never parted.


An authentic finger bone of Sakyamuni Buddha has been flown from Xi An to Taiwan to bless the multitude. Whoever attends its presence to pay homage would surely be blessed. However, awakening remains a matter of proper combination of opportune conditions. In a well-known anecdote, Gong An, of Chan School Tian Long raised one finger in reply to Ju Zhi's puzzles, and Ju Zhi thereby attained comprehension. Thereafter whenever someone raised a question to Ju Zhi he would simply raise one finger in response. A boy imitated his act and thought that, that was it. Ju Zhi wanted to correct that boy's mistake of grasping to a superficial act, so he asked the boy, "How is Buddha?" While the boy raised one finger, he cut the finger off with a knife. The boy in pain ran out, and Ju Zhi asked again, "How is Buddha?" The boy habitually raised his hand but saw no finger; thereupon he also comprehended. May all that attend the holy relic be able to "see all phenomena to be non-phenomena, and that is seeing Tathagata." (This last part is quoted from the Diamond Sutra.)

Written in Chinese on February 24, 2002
Translated on March 14, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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