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




40.  Leap and Tip Over the Clean-Bottle


Venerable Guishan: When he was still first at Baizhang among the assembly and filling the Canon-Seat*, Baizhang was going to choose the host of Great Gui**, therefore requested the Head-Seat be compared together with the lower crowd, and put forth words to investigate the person who might go there. Baizhang proceeded to pick up the clean-bottle*** and place it on the floor, setting up a question saying, “You can not call this a clean-bottle. What do you call this?” 

Therefore the Head-Seat said, “One also can not call this a tree stump!”

Baizhang still [M 52] asked from Shan. Shan therefore leaped and tipped over the clean-bottle, then exited

Baizhang laughed and said, "The First-Seat is defeated, and it’s still Brother Shan!”

This is the reason for the decree to govern the mountain.


Wumen says:  Guishan, one time bravely struggled to leave, but jumping from Baizhang’s protecting sty, he did not come forth.  When this is picked up and examined in the future, it will then be heavy, it will not then be light.  For what reason did he win liberation to transfer to his own head to raise and carry the iron cangue?


The Ode says:

He tossed down the bamboo strainer and the wooden ladle,

When he positively in one charge cut off the encircling lid.

Baizhang’s heavy checkpoint pen did not stop him.

His pointed feet leapt and put forth Buddhas like flax.


[*  The Canon-Seat or Dianzuo (J. Tenzo) is the title the chief chef or head of the kitchen.

** “The host of Great Gui” means the master of the monastery on the mountain named Great Gui.  Guishan’s name means Gui mountain.

*** The clean-bottle is the bottle that holds clean water for drinking.]


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This page last edited September 08, 2007.