Gateless Gate 5

Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #5
Xiangyan's Man Up a Tree

Master Xiangyan said, "It's like a man up the tree, hanging from a branch by his moth; his hands cannot grasp a branch, his feet won't reach a bough. Suppose there is another man under the tree who asks him, 'What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the west?'
If he does not respond, he goes against the wish of the questioner. If he answers, he will lose his life.
At such a time, how should he respond?"
Wumen's Comment
Even if your eloquence flows like a river, it is of no use.
Even if you can expound he whole body of the sutras, it is of no avail.
If you can respond to it fittingly, you will give life to those who have been dead, and put to death those who have been alive.
If, however, you are unable to do this, wait for Maitreya to come and ask him.
Wumen's Verse
Xiangyan is really absurd,
His perversity knows no bounds;
He stops up the monk's mouths,
Making his whole body into the glaring eyes of a demon.

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