The Gateless Barrier
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The Gateless Barrier

The First 8 Koans
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Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
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Last updated 7/2020
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This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 27 articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • An appreciation for the koan collection "the Gateless Gate"
Requirements
  • none
Description

“The Great Way is gateless,

Approached in a thousand ways.

Once past this checkpoint

You stride through the universe.”
-Wumen


The Wúménguān is the most popular collections of koans in the zen tradition. Many of the central stories of the old masters are included in the collection. The 48 cases were compiled by master Wumen (1183 – 1260) for teaching at a retreat. He claimed that the text, including the title, were thrown together without much thought and the koans are in no particular order. I’m not sure if he can be believed. Like a zen madman, Wumen was said to have grown his hair and beard long and to have wandered around saying things people thought were crazy. Wumen’s name means “no door” or “no entryway” and it’s the first part of the title of the text. The second part guan means “barrier” or “boundary”.

The Great Way is the path we’re on. The path inspired by the Buddha, the cultivating of awareness and compassion. Find your true nature and help others, that sums up the path.

Wumen said that the “doorless wall” is the door into the Buddha’s teaching. How do you pass through a doorless wall?


We’re going to try to find out together.

This course is a study of the first eight koans in this classic collection.

Who this course is for:
  • people interested in zen buddhism or buddhism in general
Course content
Expand all 38 lectures 02:32:25
+ Introduction
3 lectures 19:12

Introduction: What is "The Barrier that Has No Gate"? 

Why are we studying it?

Preview 12:18
Introduction
00:54

the beginning of the text.

Wumen's Preface and Verse
06:00
+ Zhaozhou and the Dog
6 lectures 44:03
Case 1
00:04

This is the presentation of the koan plus a guided meditation based on it.

Presenting Zhaozhou's Dog + Guided Meditation
15:08
Who Was Zhaozhou
00:39

A monk asked Zhaozhou, "Does a dog have Buddha Nature?"
Zhaozhou said, "No."

what does this mean?
Does a dog have Buddha nature? Do You?

ZhaoZhou and the Dog
28:05
Recordings - Dog Koan
00:03
Additional Reading - Dog Koan
00:02
+ Baizhang and the Fox
5 lectures 17:13
Case 2
00:43
Who Was Baizhang?
00:38
Baizhang and the Fox
15:46
Recordings - Fox Koan
00:03
Additional Reading - Fox Koan
00:02
+ Juzhi and the Finger
4 lectures 10:31
Case 3
00:36
Who Was Juzhi?
00:09
Juzhi and the Finger
09:45
Additional Reading - Finger Koan
00:00
+ The Barbarian Has No Beard
4 lectures 11:04
Case 4
00:14
The Barbarian.
00:20
The Barbarian With No Beard
10:28
Additional Reading - Beard Koan
00:01
+ Xiangyan Is Up In A Tree
4 lectures 08:58
Case 5
00:26
Who Was Xiangyan?
00:10
Up In A Tree
08:20
Additional Reading - Tree Koan
00:02
+ The Buddha Holds Up A Flower
6 lectures 18:05
Case 6
00:18
Who Was the Buddha?
00:04
Who Was Mahakasyapa?
00:16
The Buddha Holds Up A Flower
17:18
Recording - Flower Koan
00:03
Additional Reading - Flower Koan
00:05
+ Zhaozhou's Bowl
3 lectures 10:04
Case 7
00:08
Wash Your Bowl
09:52
Additional Reading - Bowl Koan
00:04
+ Xizhong Makes A Carriage
3 lectures 13:12
Case 8
00:08
Xizhong Makes a Carriage
13:02
Additional Reading - Carriage Koan
00:01