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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 23 Think Neither Good Nor Evil  二十三 不思善惡

 

六祖、因明上座、趁至大嶺。

The Sixth Patriarch was pursued by the monk Myõ as far as Taiyu Mountain.

祖見明至、即擲衣鉢於石上云、此衣表信。 可力爭耶、任君將去。

The patriarch, seeing Myõ coming, laid the robe and bowl on a rock and said, "This robe represents the faith; it should not be fought over. If you want to take it away, take it now."

明遂擧之如山不動、踟悚慄。 明白、我來 求法、非爲衣也。

Myõ tried to move it, but it was as heavy as a mountain and would not budge. Faltering and trembling, he cried out, "I came for the Dharma, not for the robe.

願行者開示。

I beg you, please give me your instruction."

祖云、不思善、不思惡、正與麼時、那箇是明上座本來面目。

The patriarch said, "Think neither good nor evil. At this very moment, what is the original self of the monk Myõ?"

明當下大悟、遍體汗流。

At these words, Myõ was directly illuminated. His whole body was covered with sweat.

泣涙作禮、問曰、上來密語密意外、還更 有意旨否。

He wept and bowed, saying, "Besides the secret words and the secret meaning you have just now revealed to me, is there anything else, deeper still?"

祖曰、我今爲汝説者、即非密也。

The patriarch said, "What I have told you is no secret at all.

汝若返照自己面目、密却在汝邊。

When you look into your own true self, whatever is deeper is found right there."

明云、其申雖在黄梅隨衆、實未省自己面目。

Myõ said, "I was with the monks under Õbai for many years but I could not realize my true self.

今蒙指授入處、如人飲水冷暖自知。

But now, receiving your instruction, I know it is like a man drinking water and knowing whether it is cold or warm.

今行者即是某甲師也。

My lay brother, you are now my teacher."

祖云、汝若如是則吾與汝同師黄梅。

The patriarch said, "If you say so, but let us both call Õbai our teacher.

善自護持。

Be mindful to treasure and hold fast to what you have attained."

 

Mumon's Comment

無問曰、六祖可謂、是事出急家老婆心切。

The Sixth Patriarch was, so to speak, hurried into helping a man in an emergency, and he displayed a grandmotherly kindness.

譬如新茘支剥了殻去了核、送在口裏、只要嚥一嚥。

It is as though he peeled a fresh lichi, removed the seed, put it in your mouth, and asked you to swallow it down.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

描不成兮畫不就    You cannot describe it; you cannot picture it;

贊不及兮休生受    You cannot admire it; don't try to eat it raw.

本來面目没處藏    Your true self has nowhere to hide;

世界壞時渠不朽    When the world is destroyed, it is not destroyed.

 

Next chapter: Case 24 Fuketsu's Speech and Silence

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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