Gateless Gate 15

Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #15
Dongshan Shouchu's Sixty Blows

  • YUNMEN Wenyan (Ummon Bunen, 864-949, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • DONGSHAN Shouchu (Tozan Shusho, 910-90, 14th gen), disciple of Yunmen
Case (Yamada)
When Dongshan [Shouchu] came to Yunmen for instruction, Yunmen asked, "Where have you come from?"
Dongshan said, "At Hozu Monastery, south of the lake."
Yunmen said, "When did you leave there?"
Dongshan said, "On the twenty-fifth of August."
Yunmen said, "I spare you sixty blows."
The next day Dongshan came up to Yunmen and asked, "Yesterday you spared me sixty blows though I deserved them. I beg you, sir, where was I at fault?"
Yunmen said, "Oh, you ricebag! Have you been wandering about like that, now west of the river, now south of the lake?"
At this, Dongshan had great realization.
Wumen's Comment (Yamada)
At that time, if Yunmen had given Dongshan the essential food of Zen and awakened him to an active Zen spirit, his family gate would not have become so desolate.
Dongshan struggled with himself in agony all through the night and at daybreak came to Yunmen again.
Yunmen gave him a further push to break through.
Although Dongshan attained realization immediately, he still could not be called bright. Now I ask you, does Dongshan deserve sicty blows with the stick or not?
If you say he does, then all the trees, grasses, thickets, and groves should be beaten.
If you say he does not, then Yunmen is telling a lie.
If you grasp this clearly, you are breathing through one mouth with Dongshan.
Wumen's Verse (Yamada)
The lion has a puzzling way of teaching its cubs:
The cubs crouch, leap and spring back swiftly;
Unintentionally, he gave a checkmate again.
The first arrow was light, but the second went deep.

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