The Finger and the Moon: Zen Teachings and Koans (Paperback)

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This book is both simple and elegant, which may come as a surprise to those who only know Alejandro Jodorowsky through his films, with their highly surrealistic and unconventional narratives, or even his wildly imaginative science fiction comics or magic-realist novel--all of the above being simultaneously esoteric and zany in equal parts. But at the center of this fevered imagination, is a surprisingly sober authority on Zen Buddhist philosophy. His interpretations of the traditional Japanese Zen koans, stories, and haiku related in the book are deeply resonant and legitimately altered the way I look at myself and the world around me. It's clear within the first few pages of this book that he is a man who understands life and art, and the only prerequisite required to being moved by it is simply living, breathing, and having a little bit of wonder as to what that's all about. — From Salvatore's Picks


Jodo's interpretations of the stories and koans of Zen master Ejo Takata

- Offers more than 60 Zen teaching tales, initiatory stories, koans, and haikus for self-realization and spiritual awakening

- Each story or koan is accompanied by the author's lucid and penetrating commentary, blending the same burlesque slapstick and sublime insight that characterize his films

- Explains how one must see beyond the words of the story to grasp the spiritual insights they contain

Before he became the film maker and graphic novel author known throughout the world today, Alejandro Jodorowsky studied with Zen master Ejo Takata in Mexico City. In The Finger and the Moon, Jodorowsky recounts how he became Takata's student and offers his interpretations of the teaching tales, initiatory stories, koans, and enigmatic haikus he learned at the feet of his great and humble teacher. Blending the same burlesque slapstick and sublime insight that characterize his films such as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, each story is accompanied by the author's lucid and penetrating commentary, as well as insights from ancient Zen teachers. Yet their most significant gift to the reader is the sudden shock of realization they impart that can lead to spiritual awakening.

Jodorowsky notes that most people are incapable of self-realization because of their fear of the void within, an emptiness they seek to fill with noise and chatter. He shows that Zen teachings can be compared to a finger pointing at the moon, directing you to awaken to your true nature--the Buddha within. The danger lies in mistaking the pointing finger for the moon, mistaking the words for the essential enlightenment, which can only be grasped once words have been surpassed. Unlike most tales, these stories are intended to evoke silent illumination--as true awakening and self-realization cannot occur until the mind has been stilled.

About the Author

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a playwright, filmmaker, composer, mime, and psychotherapist. He has directed several films, including The Rainbow Thief and the legendary cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain. His most recent film, The Dance of Reality, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 alongside a highly acclaimed documentary about his visionary film that never was, Jodorowsky's Dune. He is the author of more than 20 books on spirituality and tarot, including Psychomagic, The Way of Tarot, Metagenealogy, and Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness, as well as more than 30 comic books and graphic novels. He lives in Paris.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781620555354
ISBN-10: 1620555352
Publisher: Inner Traditions International
Publication Date: October 10th, 2016
Pages: 176
Language: English
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