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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 6 The Buddha Holds Out a Flower   六 世尊拈花

 

 

世尊、昔、在靈山會上拈花示衆。

When Shakyamuni Buddha was at Mount Grdhrakuta, he held out a flower to his listeners.

是時、衆皆默然。

Everyone was silent.

惟迦葉者破顔微笑。

Only Mahakashyapa broke into a broad smile.

世尊云、吾有正方眼藏、涅槃妙心、實相無相、微妙法門、不立文字、教外別傳、付囑摩訶迦葉。

The Buddha said, "I have the True Dharma Eye, the Marvelous Mind of Nirvana, the True Form of the Formless, and the Subtle Dharma Gate, independent of words and transmitted beyond doctrine. This I have entrusted to Mahakashyapa."

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、黄面瞿曇、傍若無人。

Golden-faced Gautama really disregarded his listeners.

壓良爲賤、縣羊頭賣狗肉。

He made the good look bad and sold dog's meat labeled as mutton.

將謂、多少奇特。

He himself thought it was wonderful.

只如當時大衆都笑、正方眼藏、作麼生傳。

If, however, everyone in the audience had laughed, how could he have transmitted his True Eye?

設使迦葉不笑、正方眼藏又作麼生傳。

And again, if Mahakashyapa had not smiled, how could the Buddha have transmitted it?

若道正方眼藏有傳授、黄面老子、誑閭閻。

If you say the True Dharma Eye can be transmitted, then the golden-faced old man would be a city slicker who cheats the country bumpkin.

若道無傳授、爲甚麼獨許迦葉。

If you say it cannot be transmitted, then why did the Buddha approve of Mahakashyapa?

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

拈起花來      Holding out a flower,

尾巴已露      The Buddha betrayed his curly tail.

迦葉破顔      Heaven and earth were bewildered,

人天罔措      At Mahakashyapa's smile.

 

Next Chapter: Case 7 Joshu's "wash your bowl"

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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