The Gateless Gate/Do Not Think Good, Do Not Think Not-Good
|←Kashapa's Preaching Sign||The Gateless Gate (1228) by , translated by
Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps
23. Do Not Think Good, Do Not Think Not-Good
|Without Words, Without Silence→|
|Koan number 23 out of 49 in this work (published 1228, translated 1934)|
When he became emancipated the sixth patriarch received from the fifth patriarch the bowl and robe given from the Buddha to his successors, generation after generation.
A monk named E-myo out of envy pursued the patriarch to take this great treasure away from him. The sixth patriarch placed the bowl and robe on a stone in the road and told E-myo: "These objects just symbolize the faith. There is no use fighting over them. If you desire to take them, take them now."
When E-myo went to move the bowl and robe they were as heavy as mountains. He could not budge them. Trembling for shame he said: "I came wanting the teaching, not the material treasures. Please teach me."
The sixth patriarch said: "When you do not think good and when you do not think not-good, what is your true self?"
At these words E-myo was illumined. Perspiration broke out all over his body. He cried and bowed, saying: "You have given me the secret words and meanings. Is there yet a deeper part of the teaching?"
The sixth patriarch replied: "What I have told you is no secret at all. When you realize your own true self the secret belongs to you."
E-myo said: "I was under the fifth patriarch many years but could not realize my true self until now. Through your teaching I find the source. A person drinks water and knows himself whether it is cold or warm. May I call you my teacher?"
The sixth patriarch replied: "We studied together under the fifth patriarch. Call him your teacher, but just treasure what you have attained."
- Mumon’s comment: The sixth patriarch certainly was kind in such an emergency. It was as if he removed the skin and seeds from the fruit and then, opening the pupil's mouth, let him eat.
- You cannot describe it, you cannot picture it,
- You cannot admire it, you cannot sense it.
- It is your true self, it has nowhere to hide.
- When the world is destroyed, it will not be destroyed.