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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)

 

 

Mumon's Preface

 

 

佛語心爲宗、無門爲法門。

Buddhism makes mind its foundation and no-gate its gate.

既是無門、且作麼生透。

Now, how do you pass through this no-gate?

豈不見道、從門入者不是家珍、從縁得者始終成壞。

It is said that things coming in through the gate can never be your own treasures. What is gained from external circumstances will perish in the end.

恁麼説話、大似無風起浪好肉抉瘡。

However, such a saying is already raising waves when there is no wind. It is cutting unblemished skin.

何況滯言句覓解會。 掉棒打月、隔靴爬痒、有甚交渉。

As for those who try to understand through other people's words, they are striking at the moon with a stick; scratching a shoe, whereas it is the foot that itches. What concern have they with the truth?

 

慧開、紹定戊子夏、首衆于東嘉龍翔。因納子請益、遂將古人公案作敲門瓦子、隨機引導學者。

In the summer of the first year of Jõtei, Ekai was in Ryûshõ Temple and as head monk worked with the monks, using the cases of the ancient masters as brickbats to batter the gate and lead them on according to their respective capacities.

竟爾抄録、不覺成集。初不以前後敍列、共成四十八則。

The text was written down not according to any scheme, but just to make a collection of forty-eight cases.

通曰無門關。

It is called Mumonkan, "The Gateless Gate."

 

若是箇漢、不顧危亡單刀直入。

A man of determination will unflinchingly push his way straight forward, regardless of all dangers.

八臂那咤、擱他不在。

Then even the eight-armed Nata cannot hinder him.

縦使西天四七、東土二三、只得望風乞命。

Even the four sevens of the West and the two threes of the East would beg for their lives.

設或躊躇、也似隔窓看馬騎、貶得眼來、早已蹉過。

If one has no determination, then it will be like catching a glimpse of a horse galloping past the window: in the twinkling of an eye it will be gone.

 

Verse 頌曰

大道無門      The Great Way is gateless,

千差有路      Approached in a thousand ways.

透得此關      Once past this checkpoint

乾坤獨歩      You stride through the universe.

 

Next chapter: Case I Joshu's Mu

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

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