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




3.  Juzhi’s Firm Finger


Venerable Juzhi: Whenever questioned he raised only one finger. Then afterwards because a visitor asked the attendant boy, “What does the Venerable say is the essential Dharma?", the attendant boy firmly raised his finger tip.  Zhi heard of this and thereupon used a blade to cut off the boy’s finger. The attendant boy bearing his pain roared and wailed and then began to leave. Zhi called him again and the attendant boy turned his head. Zhi all the more firmly raised his finger.  The attendant boy just like that suddenly received enlightenment.

When Zhi was going to submit to his life span, he called to the assembly and said, "When I obtained Tianlong’s one fingertip Zen, I received a lifetime of use and did not exhaust it."  When he finished his words he demonstrated the extinction of nirvana.


Wumen Says: Juzhi’s and the attendant boy’s dwelling in enlightenment does not exist beyond the fingertip.  If from within you are able to see, then Tianlong, together with Juzhi and the attendant boy, give rise to oneself, still with one skewer cutting through.


The Ode Says:

Juzhi made old Tianlong dull,

He raised a single sharp blade to examine the small attendant.
The childless Giant-Spirit* raised his hand
To break apart Splendor Mountain* into a thousand, ten thousand, attendants.

[* The Giant-Spirit is Juling, the mountain spirit of Mt. Hua, Splendor Mountain, a Daoist sacred mountain in Shanxi province.]



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This page last edited September 08, 2007.