Dictum sapienti sat est.
(Plautus, Persa 729)
A pointing finger is enough for the wise woman/man.
(pron = DIK-toom sah-pee-EN-tee saht ehst).
Comment: I am playing with words again. Dictum can mean: a word, a saying, a
witticism, a proverb, something said or spoken.
In all, there is the common thread of just very basic direction being given. A
word is not a full discourse. A saying, proverb and witticism are all short
sentences that come loaded with meaning and are subject to application in the
present. They are often without context and take on various meanings when
interpreted in various contexts. If nothing else, this daily exercise of mine
in reflectinng on Latin proverbs is that.
The "pointing finger" is actually a metaphor from Buddhism. The Buddha is said
to have admonished his followers not to confuse the pointing figer for what it
points to. In other words, he advised them early on to avoid literialism and
fundamentalism of any kind. As in all religions, some Buddhists have forgotten
We all forget this. No words from anyone or anywhere are, finally, anything
more than poinntinng fingers. Words are not what they point to, not what they
communicate, not what they mean. People bring meaning and understanding to
This is a humbling reminder to those of us who work so much of the day with
words--ours and others. And likely, some of us came to the work we do because
we thought printed words of whatever tradition is sacred to us would give us
some safety and security. Lots and lots of books give the false impression of
Plautus says the wise (or can we infer those would like to be wise) only need a
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.