Readings of the Gateless Barrier

Readings of the Gateless Barrier

The Gateless Barrier is one of the most cherished yet also one of the most enigmatic Chan or Zen texts of East Asian Buddhism. Compiled by the Chinese Chan master Wumen Huikai in 1228, it contains forty-eight Zen stories of spiritual awakening called "public cases" or gong'ans (known as kōans in Japanese and kongans in Korean). This book presents a new English translation with close readings and creative analyses of the Gateless Barrier from both scholarly and practitioner perspectives, allowing a range of readers to venture into the rich world of Chan and Zen.

Specialist contributors offer insights on historical context, literary structure, philosophical implications, and gendered dimensions, as well as the embodied practice and contemporary experience of the stories in the Gateless Barrier. By bringing together academic expertise with experiential insight from Zen teachers, this book provides a grounded and nuanced account of how the Gateless Barrier has been--and continues to be--practiced and lived in China, Korea, Japan, and the West.

An innovative and sophisticated study, this book is ideal for university classroom use, and it also makes the Gateless Barrier accessible to other first-time readers, Buddhist practitioners, and scholars.

Publication Date: 
August 6, 2024