“All we can do it point at the moon,” he liked to say, paraphrasing the old Buddha wisdom. If the moon is enlightened mind then the pointing to it represents words an enlightened one speaks to indicate it is there. Enlightened mind is the enlightened “thing” to be experienced. The words are just words and they are not coming from you in the same way that the person pointing isn’t using your arm. So, all we can do is point—is speak our words to indicate Truth. It is up to the listener not to mistake that menu for food, if one may mix metaphors.
Is that all we do, those of us who point? If such a one points because they understand the concept and know that’s the action they “should” take to appear knowledgeable or enlightened and humble, probably yes. But it does no good to point if the person you’re talking to has their eyes closed or is accidentally looking at the star nearest to where you are pointing. These are things that you, the pointer, wide awake and knowing where to focus, have within your power to correct. Sometimes you have to position them first and then point, because the enlightened mind isn’t as obvious as the moon to most people. And now that we live in a world where the person on whose behalf you are pointing can disinterestedly say, “I’ll Google Search it,” even less so.
That said, if you are pointing at the moon but have never visited, what makes you sure you ought to be pointing in the first place? That’s like an insurance salesperson creating customers by selling policies he knows all about but has never used. There’s always a chasm between what’s on paper and the service you get. There’s always fine print and loopholes, hidden costs, and benefits. There’s the reality of interacting with customer service representatives and there’s the smiling toothy perfection of the friendly models on the brochure. How can you know what’s real if you’re not also a customer?
It may feel selfless and right to point out the moon to another, but it is better to do the pointing after directly experiencing it, not after you’ve done some homework. For all the listener knows, the pointer is lying. Or the books such a one has studied are wrong.
The moon might be made of cheese after all. How will you find out? Who are you to point if you have not?