The Gateless Gate

by Heruka

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The Gateless Gate was crafted using two analog synthesizers buried in the Gampo hills in central Tibet in the 8th century and subsequently discovered by a Tibetan terton in the 21st century.


released April 7, 2017



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Heruka Little Rock, Arkansas

Analog meditations.

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Track Name: Buddha Twirls a Flower
Once upon a time when Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain, he twirled a flower in his finger and held it before his congregation. Everyone was silent. Only Maha Kashapa wholeheartedly smiled. Buddha said, "I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the formless form, the mysterious gate of Dharma. Beyond the words and beyond all teachings to be transmitted, I now pass this on to Maha Kashapa."
Mumon's Comment:
Golden-faced Gautama impudently forced the good people into depravity. He sold dog meat under the name of mutton. And he thought he made it! What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have handed the eye of the true teaching or if Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If you say it could be transmitted, he is like a golden-faced old huckster swindling at the city gate, and if you say it cannot be transmitted, how does he hand it on to Maha Kashapa?
At the turning of a flower,
The snake (his disguise) shows his tail. Maha Kashapa smiles,
Every monk does not know what to do.
Track Name: Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two
Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a baby cat. He seized the cat and said, "If (any of) you can say (a word of Zen), you can spare the cat. Otherwise I will kill it." No one could answer. So Nansen cut the cat in two .
That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him what had happened. Joshu thereupon took off his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked away. Nansen said, "If only you had been there, you could have saved the cat."
Mumon's Comment:
Why did Joshu put his sandals on his head? If you can answer this question with one word, you understand Nansen's efforts. If not, you are utterly in danger.
Had Joshu been there,
The opposite would have been done.
Joshu would have snatched the knife,
And Nansen would have begged for his life.
Track Name: Joshu's Dog
A monk asked Joshu, "Has the dog the Buddha nature?" Joshu replied, "Mu (nothing)!"
Mumon's Comment:
For the pursuit of Zen, you must pass through the barriers (gates) set up by the Zen masters. To attain his mysterious awareness one must completely uproot all the normal workings of one's mind. If you do not pass through the barriers, nor uproot the normal workings of your mind, whatever you do and whatever you think is a tangle of ghost. Now what are the barriers? This one word "Mu" is the sole barrier. This is why it is called the Gateless Gate of Zen. The one who passes through this barrier shall meet with Joshu face to face and also see with the same eyes, hear with the same ears and walk together in the long train of the patriarchs. Wouldn't that be pleasant?
Would you like to pass through this barrier? Then concentrate your whole body, with its 360 bones and joints, and 84,000 hair follicles, into this question of what "Mu" is; day and night, without ceasing, hold it before you. It is neither nothingness, nor its relative "not" of "is" and "is not." It must be like gulping a hot iron ball that you can neither swallow nor spit out.
Then, all the useless knowledge you have diligently learned till now is thrown away. As a fruit ripening in season, your internality and externality spontaneously become one. As with a mute man who had had a dream, you know it for sure and yet cannot say it. Indeed your ego-shell suddenly is crushed, you can shake heaven and earth. Just as with getting ahold of a great sword of a general, when you meet Buddha you will kill Buddha.
A master of Zen? You will kill him, too. As you stand on the brink of life and death, you are absolutely free. You can enter any world as if it were your own playground. How do you concentrate on this Mu? Pour every ounce of your entire energy into it and do not give up, then a torch of truth will illuminate the entire universe.
Has a dog the Buddha nature?
This is a matter of life and death.
If you wonder whether a dog has it or not, You certainly lose your body and life!
Track Name: Two Monks Roll Up the Blinds
Hogen of Seiryo came to the hall to speak to the monks before the midday meal. He pointed with his finger to the bamboo blinds. At this moment two monks rose and rolled the blinds up. Hogen observed, "One has it, the other hasn't it."
Mumon's Comments:
Now tell me, which one has it and which one has not? If any one of you has one eye, he will see through the failure on Hogen of Seiryo. However, never be concerned about the gain or the loss.
When the blinds are rolled up, the great sky is bright and clear,
The great sky is not yet in accord with Zen.
It's better to throw everything away from the sky, And make sure to have not even a draft blow through.
Track Name: Nansen's No Way
Nansen said, "Mind is not Buddha. Knowledge is not the Way."
Mumon's Comments:
Growing old, Nansen forgot to be ashamed. With his stinking mouth open he spread the scandal of his own house (such as knowledge is not the Way) to others. However, few appreciate their indebtedness to him.
When the sky is clear the sun appears,
when rain falls, the earth becomes moistened. How wholeheartedly he explains,
how few have faith in him and his words.
Track Name: Goso's No Words No Silence
Goso said, "When you meet a Man of the Way on the road, greet him not with words, nor with silence. Tell me, how will you greet him?"
Mumon's Comments:
If you can answer Goso exactly, it will be extremely heartening. If you cannot answer properly yet, then you must do your best to watch out everything.
Meeting the man of the Way on the road, Greeting him not with words, nor with silence. Give him an uppercut,
Then he will understand you at once.
Track Name: Keichu's Wheel
Gettan asked a monk, "If Keichu (the ancient mythological wheel maker) made one hundred carts, and if we took off the wheels and removed the hub uniting the spokes, what would then become apparent?
Mumon's Comment:
If anyone can answer this question instantly, his eyes will be like a meteor and his mind like a flash of lightning.
When the hubless wheel turns,
Even the master would be at a loss what to do, It turns above heaven and beneath earth, South, north, east, and west.
Track Name: Joshu's Oak Tree in the Garden
A monk asked Joshu, "With what intention did Bodhidharma come to China?" Joshu answered, "The oak tree in the front garden."
Mumon's Comments:
If you grasp Joshu's answer precisely, there is no Shakyamuni Buddha before you and no Maitreya Buddha after you.
Words do not express fact,
Phrases do not reveal the delicate motion of mind. He who accepts words is lost,
He who adheres to phrases is deluded.
Track Name: Un-Mon and Trap Into Words
As soon as a monk stated Un-mon, "The radiance of the Buddha quietly and restlessly illuminates the whole universe", Un-mon asked him, "Are these you are reciting not the words of Chosetzu Shusai?" The monk replied, "Yes, they are." Un-mon said, "You are trapped in words!" Afterwards Shishin brought up the matter once more and said, "Tell me, how was the monk trapped in words?"
Mumon's Comments:
If you are able to grasp Un-mon's unapproachable accomplishments and follow through the monk's corruption (of being trapped into words), you will be the leader of humans and Devas. If not, you cannot even save yourself.
A fish meets the fishhook in a rapid stream,
Being too greedy for the bait, the fish wants to bite. Once his mouth widely opens,
His life is already lost.
Track Name: Kicking the Drinking Water Jar
During his stay under Master Hyakujo, Isan was a cooking monk. As Master Hyakujo wished to send a monk to found the new monastery called the Great Mount I, Maser Hyakujo told the chief monk and all other monks that he would choose the one who would demonstrate himself as the best among them. Then Master Hyakujo brought out a drinking water jar, put it down and said, "You cannot call it a water jar. Then, what will you call it?" The chief monk said, "One cannot call it a wooden stick." Then, when Master Hyakujo turned to Isan, Isan kicked the jar and walked away. Master Hyakujo laughed and said, "The chief monk lost it to Isan." He made Isan the founder of the Great I-san Monastery.
Mumon's comments:
Master Isan had indeed rare courage, but he could not jump out of Master Hyakujo's trap. After examination of the outcome, Isan took over the heavier burden for the easier job. Why? Look, Isan took off the cook's headband and put himself in steel cuffs (of the founder of the monastery).
Throwing away strainers and cooking spoon, Isan kicks the jar and settles the disputes. Unhindered by the multiple hurdles,
He gives a kick on the toe,
Even Buddha becomes pieces.
Track Name: Tozan's Sixty Blows
Tozan went to Un-mon and Un-mon asked him where he had come from. Tozan answered, "From Sato!" Then Un-mon asked, "Where were you then during the Summer?" Tozan answered, "At Hoji Temple in Konan Province." Un-mon further asked Tozan, "When did you leave there?" Tozan replied, "I left on August 25." Un-mon told Tozan, "You deserve 60 blows, but I will forgive you today!"
The next day Tozan knelt and deeply bowed to Un-mon and said, "Yesterday you forgave me the 60 blows, but I still do not understand in what respect I was wrong." Then Un mon told Tozan, "You are really a good-for-nothing rice eater! No wonder you wandered around Konan and Kosei for nothing!" At this very moment, Tozan was awakened.
Mumon's Comment:
Un-mon had Tozan feed on the genuine fodder of Zen, showed him the one way of living activity, and helped him from becoming extinct. All night long Tozan swam in the waves of Yes and No until he got nowhere. When the dawn broke, again Tozan went to Un mon to be awakened. After all Tozan was not so seasoned.
Now I will ask you: Did Tozan deserve 60 blows? If you say Yes, then not only Tozan, but everyone also deserves 60 blows! If you say No, Un-mon is a swindler. If therefore you understand this clearly, Tozan and you breathe the same air!
The lion roughly teaches her cubs,
She kicks them away and the cubs jump.
Un-mon's thrown words hit right on Tozan's heart,
While Un-mon's first arrow is light, the second arrow hits deep.
Track Name: Proceed Beyond the Top of the 100 Foot High Pole
Master Sekiso said, "You are at the top of the 100 foot high pole. How will you make a step further?" Another Zen Master of Ancient Times said, "One who sits on top of the 100 foot pole has not quite attained true enlightenment. Make another step forward from the top of the pole and throw one's own body into the 100,000 universes."
Mumon's Comments:
Should there be any who is able to make a step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole and hurl one's entire whole body into the entire universe, this person may call oneself a Buddha. Nevertheless, how can one make a step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole? Know thyself!
Should one be content and settle on top of the 100,000 foot pole,
One will harm the third eye,
And will even misread the marks on the scale.
Should one throw oneself and be able to renounce one's life, Like one blind person leading all other blind persons,
One will be in absolute freedom (unattached from the eyes).