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The Gateless Barrier is generally acknowledged to be the fundamental koan collection in the literature of Zen. Gathered together by Wu-men (Mumon), a thirteenth-century master of the Lin-chi (Rinzai) school, it is composed of forty-eight koans, or cases, each accompanied by a brief comment and poem by Wu-men. Robert Aitken, one of the premier American Zen masters, has translated Wu-men's text, supplementing the original with his own commentary -- the first such commentary by a Western master -- making the profound truths of Zen Buddhism accessible to serious contemporary students and relevant to current social concerns.
Includes the entire "Mumonkan," the collection of spiritual riddles used to train monks and encourage lay Buddhists in their religious development, as well as insightful commentary into the text.
Gateways to awakening surround us at every moment of our lives. The whole purpose of kōan (gong’an, in Chinese) practice is to keep us from missing these myriad opportunities by leading us to certain gates that have traditionally been effective for people to access that marvelous awakening. The forty-eight kōans of the Gateless Barrier (Chinese: Wumenguan; Japanese: Mumonkan) have been waking people up for well over eight hundred years. Chan teacher Guo Gu provides here a fresh translation of the classic text, along with the first English commentary by a teacher of the Chinese tradition from which it originated. He shows that the kōans in this text are not mere stories from a distant past, but are rather pointers to the places in our lives where we get stuck—and that each sticking point, when examined, can become a gateless barrier through which we can enter into profound wisdom.
A stoic Ronin wanders the countryside of ancient Japan, carting his small child in a vessel that more than meets the eye, with a banner to advertise: son for hire, sword for hire.

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