One day, Chang-sha Ching-tsen (d. 868), one of the well-known Chinese Ch'an masters, wandered in the mountain. When he was back just at the gate of the temple, the head monk asked him:
-Where have you been, Sir?
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show chinese | 佛語心爲宗、無門爲法門。
Buddhism makes mind its foundation and no-gate its gate. 既是無門、且作麼生透。
Now, how do you pass through this no-gate? 豈不見道、從門入者不是家珍、從縁得者始終成壞。
It is said that things coming in through the gate can never be your own treasures. What is gained from external circumstances will perish in the end. 恁麼説話、大似無風起浪好肉抉瘡。
However, such a saying is already raising waves when there is no wind. It is cutting unblemished skin. 何況滯言句覓解會。 掉棒打月、隔靴爬痒、有甚交渉。
As for those who try to understand through other people's words, they are striking at the moon with a stick; scratching a shoe, whereas it is the foot that itches. What concern have they with the truth?
In the summer of the first year of Jotei, Ekai was in Ryusho Temple and as head monk worked with the monks, using the cases of the ancient masters as brickbats to batter the gate and lead them on according to their respective capacities. 竟爾抄録、不覺成集。初不以前後敍列、共成四十八則。
The text was written down not according to any scheme, but just to make a collection of forty-eight cases. 通曰無門關。
It is called Mumonkan, "The Gateless Gate."
A man of determination will unflinchingly push his way straight forward, regardless of all dangers. 八臂那咤、擱他不在。
Then even the eight-armed Nata cannot hinder him. 縦使西天四七、東土二三、只得望風乞命。
Even the four sevens of the West and the two threes of the East would beg for their lives. 設或躊躇、也似隔窓看馬騎、貶得眼來、早已蹉過。
If one has no determination, then it will be like catching a glimpse of a horse galloping past the window: in the twinkling of an eye it will be gone.
The Great Way is gateless,
Approached in a thousand ways.
Once past this checkpoint
You stride through the universe.