STANDING AT THE GATE: REFLECTIONS ON THE MUMONKON

Joshu’s Dog                 無門關 一   

There is no question

nor dog

nor Buddha-nature.

 

There is

no

thing

 

In the far corner

Joshu barks

loudly.

 

Hyakujo’s Fox             無門關 二    

The old, crippled fox

crawled slowly from the mouth

of the dark cave.

 

Sidling up to Hayakujo

the old monk said to fox,

“think fox, use

no mind to think

no thing.”

 

Fox paused in reflection.

Cremated bones, flesh

and fur were lovingly buried

in a monk’s funeral.

 

Gutei Raises a Finger                   無門關 三      

One finger,

a moment Gutei

one finger, that way

one finger, unity

 

what have you learned

one finger,

cut off,

a moment in all directions

 

no direction but still

a unity.