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The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans
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The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In The Gateless Gate, one of modern Zen Buddhism's uniquely influential masters offers classic commentaries on the Mumonkan, one of Zen's greatest collections of teaching stories. This translation was compiled with the Western reader in mind, and includes Koan Yamada's clear and penetrating comments on each case. Yamada played a seminal role in bringing Zen Buddhism to the ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Wisdom Publications (first published January 1st 1979)
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Rinzai Zen
5th out of 55 books — 7 voters
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Zen Koan Collections
13th out of 38 books — 3 voters

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Surprised at how few reads this book has gotten on this site. I guess I figured something like the Tao Te Ching would be more popular, but not 3 orders of magnitude more popular. This book is a great introduction to Zen for the casually curious. The koans are very funny at times, and Yamada's commentary is painstaking and clear, sometimes overly so, but between the koan, Mumon's commentary and Yamada's, you get three different layers and styles of understanding and it all works quite well as a w ...more
The Gateless Gate is a classic book of zen koans. In this version, Yamada adds his own explication of each case, which helps a lot in understanding some of the basic ideas. As a Westerner and someone who is not steeped in Buddhist history, I often felt like I was facing a steep series of translations- from Chinese to Japanese, from Japanese to English, from Eastern ideas and idioms to Western ones. For that reason I read the book slowly- at most one case each night. Some of them, like the classi ...more
Jan van Leent
Excellent translation of this classic collection of Zen Koans.

The teishos and commentaries are very helpful.

Recommended for study of Zen koans.

Also recommended as five star rating:

- Zenkei Shibayama, The Gateless Barrier - Zen comments on the Mumonkan, Boston: Shambhala, 1974

- Robert Aitken, The Gateless Barrier - The Wu-men Kuan (Mumonkan), New York: North Point Press, 1991
Rosie Dempsey
Not enough can be said regarding the craziness of zen koans. I don't understand most of them, but then again, I'm not enlightened.
Jure Godler
Good book. Yea. I love this one. Read it.
Couldn't understand it

(joke review)
Nov 13, 2009 Suzanne marked it as to-read
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