[INDOLOGY] Nagararjuna finger pointing to moon reference?

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 19 10:07:08 UTC 2013

Dear Dean,

I don't know of any Sanskrit texts offhand that make that claim in Nagarjuna's name, but the Dazhidu lun (WG: Ta chih-tu lun), translated by Kumārajīva into Chinese in the first decade of the fifth century which he attributes to Nagarjuna (it is considered a commentary on the Prajñāpāramitā sūtra), contains that line three times: Twice at T 25.1509.125a29-b5, and then once again at T.25.1509.726a2-3.

Aside from Nagarjuna attributions, one also finds that line in all three Chinese trs. of the Laṅkāvatāra sūtra:

by Guṇabhadra (tr between 435-443 CE): T.16.670.510c17
by Bodhiruci (513 CE): T.16.671.557a20
by Śikṣānanda (ca. 700 CE): T.16.672.620a15

It is also found in Guṇabhadra's tr. of the Aṅgulimālīya sūtra (tr between 435-443), T.2.20.537a11-12 (Yangjuemolo jing) 

Dan Lusthaus

  Does anyone have the exact text reference for the statement attributed to Nagarjuna that one should look to the moon, not the finger pointing to the moon? In other words, the words of the teaching are not the same as their realization.



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