Hello Christopher,

just another two novice cents that you are all free to take with a pinch of salt and ignore as you see fit.

As far as I can tell, nobody here stated that "the finger was the moon". IMHO different positions are being exchanged regarding points that are by no means "finer points" but instead fundamental points - the topic of this thread is Self-Defense and this led to a very important meta-discussion about where we get our understanding from of what would be an appropriate "Buddhist" response to a real life dilemma.

This discussion can help us all to question our own positions, see where they might be coming from and how we can drop them all on the cushion.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone of us has a different cut-off point and definition-preference as to what constitutes Buddhadharma and how this flows into/interacts and informs our day to day practice.

On a purely personal level I am all for modern day re-interpretations in many cases, but once it comes to a point where one might just as well sit like a frog or alternatively like a follower of the Advaita Vedanta path, the question arises, why one practises the Zen-Buddhist path and not another one? For some the answer is faith in particular parts of doctrine, for others meditation experiences, or aesthetics, for others again it is an underlying idea of a Philosophia Perennis to be found in different religions all doing more or less exactly the same, for others it really doesn't matter and for others they just practise because causal relationships have somehow brought them here.

It's good to be able to see/read all these different perspectives based on individual life experience.

Thank you all for sharing your insights.