The Gateless Checkpoint of the Zen Lineage

Chan Zong Wumen Guan (J. Mumonkan)


By Wumen Huikai (1183-1260, J. Mumon Ekai)


Translated by Gregory Wonderwheel © 2007




11. Zhou Investigates the Hermitage Masters


Zhaozhou went to the place of one hermitage master and asked, "Exist?  Exist?" (alt. “Have? Have?”)

The master raised a firm fist.

Zhou said, "Shallow water is not the place to anchor a ship." Then he walked on.

            Again he went to the place of one hermitage master and said, "Exist?  Exist?"

The master also raised a firm fist.

Zhou said, "Able to let go, able to seize, able to kill, able to [MM 21] let live," then he made the proprieties.


Wumen says: The same raised firm fists; for what purpose was one approved and  one not approved?  Just say, in which place were all the errors?  If from within you are able to issue one turning word, then you see Zhaohou’s tongue is boneless and very naturally it is able to rise up to help put in place or turn upside down. Although, on the other hand, it is like the struggle affects Zhaozhou who retreats because of being destroyed by the two hermitage masters’ investigation. If you say the two hermitage masters existed as superior and inferior you do not possess the eye of the three studies.  If you say they were not existing as superior and inferior, you also do not possess the eye of three studies.


The Ode says:

Eye  --  shooting star,

Function -- snatching lighting;

To kill a person -- a blade,

To keep a person alive -- a sword.

[MM 22]



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This page last edited September 08, 2007.