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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 5 Kyõgen's "Man up in a Tree"   五 香嚴上樹

 

 

香嚴和尚云、如人上樹、口啣樹枝、手不攀枝、脚不踏樹。

Kyõgen Oshõ said, "It is like a man up in a tree hanging from a branch with his mouth; his hands grasp no bough, his feet rest on no limb.

樹下有人問西來意、不對即違他所問、若對又喪身失命。

Someone appears under the tree and asks him, 'What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?' If he does not answer, he fails to respond to the question. If he does answer, he will lose his life.

正恁麼時、作麼生對。

What would you do in such a situation?"

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、縱有懸河之辨、惣用不著。

Even if your eloquence flows like a river, it is of no avail.

説得一大藏教、亦用不著。

Though you can expound the whole of Buddhist literature, it is of no use.

若向者裏對得著、活却從前死路頭、死却從前活路頭。

If you solve this problem, you will give life to the way that has been dead until this moment and destroy the way that has been alive up to now.

其或未然、直待當來問彌勒。

Otherwise you must wait for Maitreya Buddha and ask him.

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

香嚴眞杜撰 Kyõgen is truly thoughtless;

惡毒無盡限 His vice and poison are endless.

唖却納僧口 He stops up the mouths of the monks,

通身迸鬼眼 And devil's eyes sprout from their bodies.

 

 

Next Chapter: Case 6 The Buddha Holds Out A Flower

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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