Talk:The Gateless Gate

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What should this page be called? 無門關 has some problems translating into English. "Gateless Gate" appears to be the most common, but is potentially misleading because it implies that 門 is the same thing as 關. I think the most literal translation (and I'm not sure about this -- it is often misleading to try to parse medival Chinese based on knowledge of modern Chinese) would be something like "the doorless checkpoint". 關 occurs most commonly (in modern Chinese, anyway) as a verb meaning "to close", which might imply that, as a noun, it should be understood primarily as a potential obstruction; something that might be passable or might not be passable. "Gateless Passage" seems a little better than "Gateless Gate". "Gateless Barrier" may be the closest English equivalent. However, Google strongly implies that "Gateless Gate" is more common. Maybe it would be best to avoid the translation issue and just move to a non-English title. "Mumonkan" gets more Google hits than "Gateless Gate". However, it doesn't seem quite right to use the Japanese title for what is essentially a Chinese work. So, my recommendation is to move the page to Wumenguan. Any objections? - Nat Krause 04:41, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If "Gateless Gate" gets the most hits in English, then it's the right name for the article. But by all means feel free to add a paragraph about the naming into the article itself though. Jpatokal 10:01, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
"Mumonkan" gets the most hits in English, though. I take that back. "Gateless Gate" gets more hits when the search is limited to English. - Nat Krause 11:47, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The strongest case seems to me to be for the article to be Gateless Barrier.
  • Gateless Barrier is the title of the translation by Shibayama, the only mainline Rinzai roshi to publish about this in English
  • Gateless Barrier is the title of the translation by Aitken—to my knowledge, the only American having inka to have translated it
  • The prolific Cleary called his translation No Barrier (he is often particularly terse; charmingly, he translated the title of the Mo Ho Chih Guan as Stopping and Seeing, rather than the probably safer Great Calming and Contemplation)
  • Blyth's Mumonkan p14, note 2 reads in part "...Kan, barrier, was an expression used by Jōshū, Jōshū's barrier. There was Ummon's One Letter Gate" (3 Chinese characters omitted here, sorry, don't know how to do, but the first is obviously the character for the number 1 and the third is the character for guan/kuan/kan.) "Kan is really the bar the closes the gate, the essential part of the gate"
FWIW a teacher of mine seemed to say that guan was a common word for the barrier or checkpoint one needed to pass to get up over certain mountain passes.
Opposing viewpoints, of course, by Reps/Senzaki, Sekida, Yamada, who all have Gateless Gate. Even Andy Fergusson. And yes, the echo chamber effect gives Gateless Gate the most Google hits. But I appeal to the principle that when something's obviously wrong, we fix it. --Munge 05:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
This blogger makes a case for "Gateless Frontier".
I am a speaker of Mandarin Chinese and "關" also connotates "test", "difficulty", "obstacle" or "trial". Frontier mangles the meaning even more, since the English connotations of the word do not fit the Chinese; despite the claim of the author. The best commonly-used translation would thus be "Gateless Barrier". The Fascist 11:22, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Sure get a lot of hits when I google "guan pass". My working hypothesis is it might have referred to a mountain pass, the frontier in the sense that the pass represented a boundary, and a checkpoint set up at the boundary to check your credentials.
BTW as far as "door" is concerned, the very shape of the "men" ideogram seems to support "gate" more than "door" --Munge 08:21, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
But 門 or “门” (that's its form in simplified Chinese) means door literally. Like “我家的门” means "my house door". The Fascist 11:27, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Correct. 門 is gate, and 関 is checkpoint/barrier. (At least in Japanese, but I doubt the Chinese is much different.) Jpatokal 08:28, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Wash your bowl"... "You have already learned what you want to know", not "the bowl is a metaphor for your mind, crumbs from what you ate before=go wash your 'bowl'"? (talk) 09:05, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Random Koan Generator[edit]

I have made a random koan generator from the text of this work:

49. Amban's Addition

Amban, a layman Zen student, said: "Mu-mon has just published forty-eight koans and called the book Gateless Gate. He criticizes the old patriarchs’ words and actions. I think he is very mischievous. He is like an old doughnut seller trying to catch a passerby to force his doughnuts down his mouth. The customer can neither swallow nor spit out the doughnuts, and this causes suffering. Mu-mon has annoyed everyone enough, so I think I shall add one more as a bargain. I wonder if he himself can eat this bargain. If he can, and digest it well, it will be fine, but if not, we will have to put it back into the frying pan with his forty-eight also and cook them again. Mu-mon, you eat first, before someone else does:

"Buddha, according to a sutra, once said: 'Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think.'"

Amban's comment: Where did that so-called teaching come from? How is it that one could not even think it? Suppose someone spoke about it then what became of it? Buddha himself was a great chatterbox and in this sutra spoke contrarily. Because of this, persons like Mu-mon appear afterwards in China and make useless doughnuts, annoying people. What shall we do after all? I will show you.
Then Amban put his palms together, folded his hands, and said: "Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think. And now I will make a little circle on the sutra with my finger and add that five thousand other sutras and Vimalakirti's gateless gate all are here!"
If anyone tells you fire is light,
Pay no attention.
When two thieves meet they need no introduction:
They recognize each other without question.

Comments, concerns, suggestions are welcome. Regards, WikiDao 14:03, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Too pedantic in places: esp. nomenclature[edit]

Material for Wikipedia seems to be increasingly provided by academics. That's fine but academics should be constantly aware of the difference between writing for an academic audience and writing for an encyclopedia. Academics may wish for more esoteric information but they usually have access to texts that provide that far better than an article here. On the other hand, people searching encyclopedias are often approaching the subject for the first time and need only simple and straightforward descriptions.

The paragraph on "Nomenclature" is excessive: the point requires only a referenced note at the bottom at best, or at most one paragraph in the body of the text. People arrive here to find out what the Gateless Gate is and possible where they might find further information. The talk item "Title" above does not need to be mirrored in the article itself. However, in my view, even this is over the top. The phrase Gateless Gate is in common usage and "Gateless Gate" is what people will be using to locate information. The title of the article might be changed at some point that a majority of people agree on a change and that changed title is what people are seeking. -- (talk) 03:21, 8 June 2013 (UTC)