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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 31 Jõshû Investigates an Old Woman   三十一 趙州勘婆

 

 

 

趙州、因僧問婆子、臺山路向甚處去。

A monk asked an old woman, "What is the way to Taisan?"

婆云、驀直去。

The old woman said, "Go straight on."

僧纔行三五歩。 婆云、好箇師僧、又恁麼去。

When the monk had proceeded a few steps, she said, "A good, respectable monk, but he too goes that way."

後有僧擧似州。

Afterward someone told Jõshû about this.

州云、待我去與勘過這婆子。

Jõshû said, "Wait a bit, I will go and investigate the old woman for you."

明日便去亦如是問。 婆亦如是答。

The next day he went and asked the same question, and the old woman gave the same answer.

州歸謂衆曰、臺山婆子、我與勘破了也。

On returning, Jõshû said to his disciples, "I have investigated the old woman of Taisan for you."

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、婆子只解坐籌帷幄、要且著賊不知。

The old woman only knew how to sit still in her tent and plan the campaign; she did not know when she was shadowed by a spy.

趙州老人、善用偸營劫塞乃機、又且無大人相。

Though old Jõshû showed himself clever enough to take a camp and overwhelm a fortress, he displayed no trace of being a great commander.

點將來、二倶有過。

If we look at them, they both have their faults.

且道、那裏是趙州、勘破婆子處。

But tell me, what did Jõshû see in the old woman?

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

問既一般      The question was like the others,

答亦相似      The answer was the same.

飯裏有砂      Sand in the rice,

泥中有刺      Thorns in the mud.

 

Next chapter: Case 32 A Non-Buddhist Philosopher Questions the Buddha 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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