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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 14 Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two     十四 南泉斬猫

 

南泉和尚因東西堂爭猫兒。

Nansen Oshõ saw monks of the Eastern and Western halls quarreling over a cat.

泉乃提起云、大衆道得即救、道不得即斬却也。

He held up the cat and said, "If you can give an answer, you will save the cat. If not, I will kill it."

衆無對。泉遂斬之。

No one could answer, and Nansen cut the cat in two.

晩趙州外歸。 泉擧似州。

That evening Jõshû returned, and Nansen told him of the incident.

州乃脱履安頭上而出。

Jõshû took off his sandal, placed it on his head, and walked out.

泉云、子若在即救得猫兒。

"If you had been there, you would have saved the cat," Nansen remarked.

 

Mumon's Comment

無門曰、且道、趙州頂草鞋意作麼生。

Tell me, what did Jõshû mean when he put the sandal on his head?

若向者裏下得一轉語、便見南泉令不虚行。

If you can give a turning word on this, you will see that Nansen's decree was carried out with good reason.

其或未然險。

If not, "Danger!"

 

Mumon's Verse 頌曰

趙州若在      Had Jõshû been there,

倒行此令      He would have done the opposite;

奪却刀子      When the sword is snatched away,

南泉乞命      Even Nansen begs for his life.

 

Next chapter: Case 15 Tozan's Sixty Blows

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

 

Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Mumonkan: The Gateless Gate

 

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