ahamati, the Tathagatas do not teach a doctrine that is dependent
upon letters. As to letters, their being or non-being is not attainable;
it is otherwise with thought that is never dependent upon letters. Again,
Mahamati, anyone that discourses on a truth that is dependent upon letters
is a mere prattler because truth is beyond letters. For this reason, it
is declared in the canonical text by myself and other Buddhas and
bodhisattvas that not a letter is uttered or answered by the Tathagatas.
For what reason? Because truths are not dependent on letters....
Therefore, Mahamati, let the son or daughter of a good family take
good heed not to get attached to words as being in perfect conformity with
meaning, because truth is not of the letter. Be not like the one who
looks at the fingertip. When a man with his fingertip points out
something to somebody, the fingertip may be taken wrongly for the thing
pointed at. In like manner, simple and ignorant people are unable even
unto their death to abandon the idea that in the fingertip of words there
is the meaning itself, and will not grasp ultimate reality because of
their intent clinging to words, which are no more than the fingertip....
Be not like one who, grasping his own fingertip, sees the meaning there.
You should rather energetically discipline yourself to get at the meaning