Amban, a layman Zen student, said: 'Mumon has just published
forty-eight koans and called the book The Gateless Gate.
He criticizes the old patriarchs' words and actions.
I think he is very mischievous. He is like an old doughnut
seller trying to catch a passer-by to force his doughnuts down his
mouth. The customer can neither swallow nor spit out the doughnuts,
and this causes suffering. Mumon has annoyed everyone enough,
so I think I shall add one more as a bargain. I wonder if he himself
can eat this bargain. If he can, and digest
it well, it will be fine, but if not, we will have to put it back
into the frying pan with his forty-eight also and cook them again.
Mumon, you eat first, before someone else does:
'Buddha, according to a sutra, once said: "Stop, stop. Do not
speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think."'
Amban's Comment: Where did that so-called teaching come from?
How is it that one could not even think it? Suppose someone spoke about
it then what became of it? Buddha himself was a great chatterbox
and in this sutra spoke contrarily. Because of this, persons like
Mumon appear afterwards in China and make useless doughnuts,
annoying people. What shall we do after all? I will show you.
Then Amban put his palms together, folded his hands, and said:
'Stop, stop. Do not
speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think. And now
I will make a little circle on the sutra with my finger and add
that five thousand other sutras and Vimalakirti's gateless
gate are all here!'
If anyone tells you fire is light,
Pay no attention.
When two thieves meet they need no introduction:
They recognize each other without question.
A Zen koan from the classic collection The Gateless Gate.
Transcription by gn0sis.