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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 2 Hyakujõ's Fox  二 百丈野狐

 

百丈和尚、凡參次、有一老人常隨衆聽法。

When Hyakujõ Oshõ delivered a certain series of sermons, an old man always followed the monks to the main hall and listened to him.

衆人退、老人亦退。

When the monks left the hall, the old man would also leave.

忽一日不退。師遂問、面前立者復是何人。

One day, however, he remained behind, and Hyakujõ asked him, "Who are you, standing here before me?"

老人云、諾。

The old man replied.

某甲非人也。

"I am not a human being.

於過去迦葉佛時曾住此山。

In the old days of Kashyapa Buddha, I was a head monk, living here on this mountain.

因學人問、大修行底人還落因果也無。

One day a student asked me, 'Does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?'

某甲對云、不落因果。

I answered, 'No, he does not.'

五百生墮野狐身。

Since then I have been doomed to undergo five hundred rebirths as a fox.

今請、和尚代一轉語貴脱野狐。

I beg you now to give the turning word to release me from my life as a fox.

遂問、大修行底人、還落因果也無。

Tell me, does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?"

師云、不昧因果。

Hyakujõ answered, "He does not ignore causation."

老人於言下大悟。

No sooner had the old man heard these words than he was enlightened.

作禮云、某甲、已脱野狐身住在山後。

Making his bows, he said, "I am emancipated from my life as a fox. I shall remain on this mountain.

敢告和尚。 乞、依亡僧事例。

I have a favor to ask of you: would you please bury my body as that of a dead monk."

 

師、令維那白槌告衆、食後送亡僧。

Hyakujõ had the director of the monks strike with the gavel and inform everyone that after the midday meal there would be a funeral service for a dead monk.

大衆言議、一衆皆安、涅槃堂又無人病。何故如是。

The monks wondered at this, saying, "Everyone is in good health; nobody is in the sick ward. What does this mean?"

食後只見師領衆至山後嵒下、以杖挑出一死野狐、乃依火葬。

After the meal Hyakujõ led the monks to the foot of a rock on the far side of the mountain and with his staff poked out the dead body of a fox and performed the ceremony of cremation.

師、至晩上堂、擧前因縁。

That evening he ascended the rostrum and told the monks the whole story.

黄蘗便問、古人錯祗對一轉語、墮五百生野狐身、轉轉不錯合作箇甚麼。

Õbaku thereupon asked him, "The old man gave the wrong answer and was doomed to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. Now, suppose he had given the right answer, what would have happened then?"

師云、近前來與伊道。

Hyakujõ said, "You come here to me, and I will tell you."

黄蘗遂近前、與師一掌。

Õbaku went up to Hyakujõ and boxed his ears.

師拍手笑云、將謂、胡鬚赤。 更有赤鬚胡。

Hyakujõ clapped his hands with a laugh and exclaimed, "I was thinking that the barbarian had a red beard, but now I see before me the red-bearded barbarian himself."

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、不落因果、爲甚墮野狐。

Not falling under causation: how could this make the monk a fox?

不昧因果、爲甚脱野狐。

Not ignoring causation: how could this make the old man emancipated?

若向者裏著得一隻眼、便知得前百丈贏得風流五百生。

If you come to understand this, you will realize how old Hyakujõ would have enjoyed five hundred rebirths as a fox.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

不落不昧      Not falling, not ignoring:

兩采一賽      Two faces of one die.

不昧不落      Not ignoring, not falling:

千錯萬錯      A thousand errors, a million mistakes.

 

 

Next chapter: Case 3 Gutei Raises A Finger

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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