The Gateless Gate

‘Chu Kokushi, teacher of the emperor, called Oshin, his attendant.
Oshin answered, “Yes.”
To test him, the master called again, “Oshin.”
Oshin replied, “Yes.”
Once again Chu Kokushi called “Oshin.”
And once again, Oshin replied, “Yes.”
Chu Kokushi then said, “I guess I ought to apologize to you, but really you should apologize to me.”‘(Mumonkan , case 17)

From Nyogen Senzaki’s commentary in Eloquent Silence‘In this koan, the teacher is like an old man, and wants to make sure of the attainment of his disciple, like an old woman who checks the lock on the door two or three times before she leaves the house. Oshin, the disciple, joins the teacher’s efforts, and answers his calls again and again. Is it not a beautiful picture of beloved ones? If you want to learn Zen, you must understand how to give in.’

I would perhaps add, similarly to yesterday: Can you say it? Once, twice ,three times – which is right?

6 thoughts on “The Gateless Gate

  1. So, there is no ‘right’ in this koan — then perhaps a love-dance and respect-dance between the elder Chu and Oshin, the student. Such wisdom and indeed ‘the game is never over’ — would you offer a wee-bit more help; helping me to chew on this Koan? Thanks Shundo! Deeply bowing


  2. Paraphrasing, I believe NSenzakis saying that once a brick is used to knock and someone answers; you can throw the brick away for it is not needed anymore. Thanks Shundo for setting-up this barrier to be jumped, thanks for roaming the many peaks to be reached, and the deep breath and blood flow needed to digest this understanding.


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