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




42. The Woman Comes Out of Samadhi


The World-honored One: long ago, because Manjusri arrived at the gathering place of all the Buddhas, at the time all the Buddhas had each gone back to their original place. [MM 54] Only one woman was present close to the Buddha’s seat entered into samadhi.

Manjusri then said to the pure Buddha, “Why is the woman able to be close to the Buddha’s seat , while on the other hand I am not able to?”

Buddha told Manjusri, “You only should cause this woman to awaken from samadhi and get up, then you personally can ask her.”

Manjusri went around the woman three times, chirped (snapped) his fingers once, and next then lifted her up with his palm to the Heaven of Purity.  He exhausted his spiritual powers and still he was not able to get her out.

The World-honored One said, "If a hundred thousand Manjusris were employed, they also could not get this woman out of samadhi.  Down below, in a place passing through whole territorial realms as many as the grains of sand of twelve hundred million rivers there is present the bodhisattva Wangming (Deceptive-brilliance) who can get this woman up from samadhi.” 

In an instant Great-being Wangming surged up from the ground and put forth his proprieties paying respect to the World Honored One.  The World Honored One admonished Wangming to go to the woman and chirp (snap) his fingers once.  Next the woman got up from that samadhi. 


Wumen says: Old Mr. Śākya was a person who made a whole act of a motley drama. The small few did not penetrate.  [MM 55] Just say, Manjusri is the teacher of seven Buddhas, what was the reason he was not able to get the woman up from samadhi?  Wangming was a bodhisattva at the first ground, still how was his action able to get her up?   If within you are able to see intimately, in the hustle and bustle of working consciousness is a nāga’s (dragon being) great samadhi.


The Ode says:

Able to bring forth, not able to bring forth.

In a ditch, you are able to by yourself.

A god’s head and a devil’s face,

In defeat and deficiency be distinguished and accomplished.


Return to the Gateless Checkpoint's Table of Contents


This page last edited September 08, 2007.