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




48.  Qianfeng 's One Path

 [MM 60]

Venerable Qianfeng: because a monk asked, “'Honored Ones (Skt. Bhagavān) of the ten directions, one path to the gate of Nirvana.'  I do not yet really know the trailhead. Where's its location?”

Feng picked up and raised his staff, drew one dividing line and said, “Within this.”

Later [a/the] monk asked Yunmen to augment this. Men picked up and raised his fan and said, “This fan streaks like a comet leaping up to the thirty-third heaven shoving into the nostril of the god Sakra.  The carp of the Eastern Sea gets one hit with a stick and the rain seems like an overturned basin.


Wumen says:  One person’s direction goes to the deep sea bottom and on the sea floor scatters dust. One person on the highest mountain peak sets up white waves that overflow the sky.   Holding firm or letting go, each puts forth one single hand to support and keep upright the lineage. Riding on, they greatly seem like two individual racers colliding into each other at the finish of the race. In the world and above you meet people without straight foundations.  Coming at it with the insight (Skt. vipassana) of the true eye, neither of the two great elders knows where the trailhead is at. [MM 61]


The Ode says:

In the time before a step is not yet raised, already arrived.

In the time before the tongue is not yet moved, speaking is completed.

Even though it is straight, the finish of the race is before the action.

Further, you should know to face above the openings.



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This page last edited September 08, 2007.