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The Gateless Gate

 

The Gateless Gate or The Gateless Barrier (Chin. Wu-wen kuan; Jap. Mumonkan)

The author is Chinese Ch'an master Wu-men Hui-hai (無門慧開 Mumon Ekai, 1183-1260).

 

English Translation

By late Zen master Katsuki Sekida (Two Zen Classics 26-137)

 

Original Chinese Text

The original Chinese text is taken from the following Japanese web site:

 

                  http://homepage1.nifty.com/poem-club/mumonnkan/mumonkanwoyomu.htm

 

The Chinese and Japanese texts in this web site are taken from the book titled Mumonkan, published in Japan by Iwanami Bunkõ.

 

Chinese Characters

Unfortunately a few Chinese characters were not given in this site. Luckily these characters are less than 1% of the text. Where there was a definition about these ideograms, they are entered them using Chinese system (Big 5). There are also ideograms that appear as mere black boxes, without any explanations. These are replaced with dummy characters (empty square boxes).

 

 

The Gateless Gate 無門關

Wu-wen kuan (Mumonkan)

 

Case 11 Jõshû Sees the Hermits    十一 州勘庵主

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

趙州、到一庵主處問、有麼有麼。

Jõshû went to a hermit's cottage and asked, "Is the master in? Is the master in?"

主、堅起拳頭。

The hermit raised his fist.

州云、水淺不是泊處。 便行。

Jõshû said, "The water is too shallow to anchor here," and he went away.

又到一庵主處云、有麼有麼。

Coming to another hermit's cottage, he asked again, "Is the master in? Is the master in?"

主亦堅起拳頭。

This hermit, too, raised his fist.

州云、能縱能奪、能殺能活。便作禮。

Jõshû said, "Free to give, free to take, free to kill, free to save," and he made a deep bow.

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、一般堅起拳頭、爲甚麼肯一箇、不肯一箇。

Both raised their fists; why was the one accepted and the other rejected?

且道、訛在甚處。

Tell me, what is the difficulty here?

若向者裏下得一轉語、便見趙州舌頭無骨、扶起放倒、得大自在。

If you can give a turning word to clarify this problem, you will realize that Jõshû's tongue has no bone in it, now helping others up, now knocking them down, with perfect freedom.

雖然如是爭奈、趙州却被二庵主勘破。

However, I must remind you: the two hermits could also see through Jõshû.

若道二庵主有優劣、未具參學眼。

If you say there is anything to choose between the two hermits, you have no eye of realization.

若道無優劣、亦未具參 學眼。

If you say there is no choice between the two, you have no eye of realization.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

眼流星           The eye like a shooting star,

機掣電           The spirit like a lighting;

殺人刀           A death-dealing blade,

活人劍           A life-giving sword.

 

Next chapter: Case 12 Zuigan Calls His Master

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

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