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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 48 Kempõ's One Road     四十八 乾峰一路

 

 

乾峰和尚、因僧問、十方薄伽梵、一路涅槃門。

A monk asked Kempõ Oshõ, "It is written, 'Bhagavats in the ten directions. One straight road to Nirvana.'

未審路頭在甚麼處。

I still wonder where the road can be."

峰拈起杖、劃一劃云、在者裏。

Kempõ lifted his staff, drew a line, and said, "Here it is."

後僧請益雲門。

Later the monks asked the same question to Unmon,

門拈起扇子云、扇子跳上三 十三天、築著帝釋鼻孔。

who held up his fan and said, "This fan jumps up to the thirty-third heaven and hits the nose of the deity Sakra Devanam Indra.

東海鯉魚、打一棒雨似盆傾。

When you strike the carp of the eastern sea, the rain comes down in torrents."

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、一人向深深海底行、土揚塵、一人於高高山頂、白浪滔天。

One, going to the bottom of the sea, lifts up clouds of dust; the other, on the top of the highest mountain, rises towering waves to wash the sky.

把定放行、各出一隻手扶竪宗乗。

One holding fast, the other letting go, each stretches out his hand to support the profound teaching.

大似兩箇馳子相撞著。

They are just like two riders starting from opposite ends of the course and meeting in the middle.

世上應無直底人。

But none on earth can be absolutely direct.

正眼觀來二大老惣未識路頭在。

When examined with a true eye, neither of these two great masters knows the road.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

未擧歩時先已到    Before a step is taken, the goal is reached;

未動舌時先説了    Before the tongue is moved, the speech is finished.

直饒著著在機先    Though each move is ahead of the next,

更須知有向上竅    There is still a transcendent secret.

 

Next chapter: Mumon's Postscript

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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