The nun and Chan master Wujin asked Huineng to explain passages of the Nirvana Sutra that she still couldn’t understand after long years of study. Huineng asked Wujin to read the passages to him, as he never learned to read. Wujin asked him how he understands the sutra without reading it, and Huineng famously replied that we can use a finger to point to the moon in the sky but don’t need a finger to see it. Bruce Lee uses this to teach his student in the beginning of Enter the Dragon, telling his student to feel, not think, as if he focuses on the finger he will miss the moon and all its glory. For Huineng, the sutra points to the experience, and for Lee the thought points to the action. In both cases, experience in action is the point, not pointing to them.
Gerlach is German and rhymes with bear-lock. I was born and raised in the Haight Ashbury of San Francisco, moved to Berkeley for college and grad school, with an MA in History of Religion from the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, and now teach Philosophy and the history of human thought at Berkeley City College. I have taught Intro Philosophy, Ethics, Logic, Asian Philosophy, Greek Philosophy, Modern European Philosophy and Social & Political Philosophy there for the past several years, and it has been a joy.