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:

6. Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha said: "I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa."

Mumon’s comment: Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?
At the turning of a flower
His disguise was exposed.
No one in heaven or earth can surpass
Maha-Kashapa's wrinkled face.

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)

Keichu's Wheel accurate translation[edit]

If anybody knows kanji, there is a photograph of the oldest known version of this koan written down here: That post is also what I'm basing my statements on as well.

Since 2006, when an older translation made people discover that Keichu had been mistranslated (as having built 100 carts), there is still a mistranslation lurking somewhere: Did he make a wagon with 100 spokes, or does it say that he made two wheels with 50 spokes each? Also, is it the hub that is removed, or the axle? Is it the rim of the wheel, or the entire wheel? The contents of this koan hinges on these things, as I believe that if it's about a 100 spoke wheel, where the hub and the rim of the wheel is removed, leaving only the spokes to turn, then the wheel is actually a symbolic dharma wheel of zen. We need somebody who knows kanji to verify the text in the photo.

- Anon — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 25 April 2015 (UTC)