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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 40 Tipping Over a Water Bottle 

四十 倒淨瓶

 

山和尚、始在百丈會中充典座。

When Isan Oshõ was with Hyakujõ, he was tenzo [典座 head cook] of the monastery.

百丈、將選大主人。 乃請同 首座對衆下語、出格者可往。

Hyakujõ wanted to choose a master for Mount Tai-i, so he called together all the monks and told them that anyone who could answer his question in an outstanding manner would be chosen.

百丈遂拈淨瓶、置地上設問云、不得喚作淨瓶、汝喚作甚麼。

Then he took a water bottle and stood it on the floor, and said, "You may not call this a water bottle. What do you call it?"

首座乃云、不可喚作木也。

The head monk said, "It cannot be called a stump."

百丈却問於山。

Hyakujõ asked Isan his opinion.

山乃倒淨瓶而去。

Isan tipped over the water bottle with his feet and went out.

百丈笑云、第一座 輸却山子也。

Hyakujõ laughed and said, "The head monk loses."

因命之爲山。

And Isan was named as the founder of the new monastery.

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、山一期之勇、爭奈跳百丈圈不出、點將來、便重不便輕。

Isan displayed great spirit in his action, but he could not cut himself free from Hyakujõ's apron strings. He preferred the heavier task to lighter one.

何故。

Why was he like that, eh?

脱得盤頭、擔起鐵枷。

He took off his headband to bear the iron yoke.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

下笊籬并木杓            Tossing bamboo baskets and ladles away,

當陽一突絶周遮    He made a glorious dash and swept all before him.

百丈重關欄不住    Hyakujõ's barrier cannot stop his advance;

脚尖出佛如麻    Thousands of Buddhas come forth from the tips of his feet.

 

Next chapter: Case 41 Bodhidharma's Mind-Pacifying

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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