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




14. Nanquan Beheads the Cat


Venerable Nanquan: Because the Eastern and Western halls were arguing over a kitten, Quan therefore held it up and said, "If the great assembly is able to speak quickly it can be saved, but if not able to speak quickly then it is eliminated by beheading.”

The Assembly was without a correct response, so Quan carried out the cat’s departure.

In the evening Zhaozhou returned from outside.  Quan showed what happened to Zhou.  Zhou consequently took off his shoes and placed them above his head and exited. 

Quan said "Mister if you were there your quickness would have been able to save the kitten."


Wumen says: Just say, what was the living meaning of Zhaozhou putting the grass shoes on top of his head?  If within you are able to issue one turning word, then you see Nanquan’s decree is not a vain act, and in that case maybe he is not [MM 25] dangerous.


The Ode says:  

If Zhaozhou were there,

His act would have turned the decree upside down,

Seizing and removing the mister’s blade,

Leaves Nanquan begging for life.



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This page last edited September 08, 2007.