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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 42 The Girl Comes out of Samadhi   四十二 女子出定

 

世尊、昔、因文殊、至諸佛集處値諸佛各還本處。

Once, in the old days, in the time of the World-honored One, Manjusri went to the assembly of the Buddhas and found that everyone had departed to his original dwelling place.

惟有一女人近彼佛坐入於三昧。

Only a girl remained, sitting in samadhi close to the Buddha's throne.

文殊乃白佛、云何女人得近佛坐而我不得。

Manjusri asked Shakyamuni Buddha, "Why can the girl get near the Buddha's throne, while I cannot?"

佛告文殊、汝但覺此女、令從三昧起、汝自問之。

Shakyamuni Buddha said, "Bring her out of her samadhi and ask her yourself."

文殊遶女人三、鳴指一下、乃托至梵天盡其神力而不能出。

Manjusri walked around the girl three times, snapped his fingers once, took her to the Brahma heaven, and exerted all his miraculous powers to bring her out of her meditation, but in vain.

 

世尊云、假使百千文殊亦出此女人定不得。

The World-honored One said, "Even a hundred thousand Manjusris cannot make her wake up.

下方過一十二億河沙國土有罔明菩薩。

But down below, past twelve hundred million lands as innumerable as the sands of Ganges, there is a Bodhisattva Mõmyõ.

能出此女人定。

He will be able to rouse her from her samadhi."

須臾罔明大士、從地湧出禮拜世尊。世尊敕罔明。

Instantly the Bodhisattva Mõmyõ emerged from the earth and made a bow to the World-honored One, who gave him his imperial order.

却至女人前鳴指一下。

The Bodhisattva went over to the girl and snapped his fingers once.

女人於是從定而出。

At this she came out of her samadhi.

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、釋迦老子、做者一場雜劇、不通小小。

Old Shakyamuni put a petty drama on the stage and failed to enlighten the masses.

且道、文殊是七佛之師、因甚出 女人定不得。

I want to ask you: Manjusri is the teacher of the Seven Buddhas; why couldn't he arouse the girl from her samadhi?

罔明初地菩薩、爲甚却出得。

How was it that Mõmyõ, a Bodhisattva at the beginner's stage, could do it?

若向者裏見得親切、業識忙忙那伽大定。

If you understand this intimately, you will enjoy Nagya's grand samadhi in the busiest activity of consciousness.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

出得出不得 One was successful, the other was not;

渠儂得自由 Both secured freedom of mind.

神頭并鬼面 One in a god-mask, the other in a devil-mask;

敗闕當風流 Even in defeat, a beautiful performance.

 

Next chapter: Case 43 Shuzan's Shippei

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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