Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Yunmen Wenyan 雲門文偃

(Ummon Daishi, Yúnmén Wényǎn)

862 – 949 CE

The most eloquent Chan master

One of the most famous Zen masters in later day Japan, Ummon founded one of the five major Chán schools in China. This school compiled and wrote the Blue Cliff Record, flourished for hundreds of years, and continues today. Supported by the region's king, and famous throughout China and Korea, Ummon rejected the fame and many offered honors while building a new monastery in a more remote location. Many of his recorded statements later became koans—5 listed in The Gateless Gate, 8 in the Book of Equanimity, and 18 in the Blue Cliff Record.

Trickster Zen


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Quotes by Yunmen Wenyan (6 quotes)

“Because your own mouth is not good for anything you come to note down my words. It is certain that some day you'll sell me!”

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“This world is such a wide world! Why then do you answer to a temple bell and don ceremonial robes?”

Themes: Golden Chains

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“If you do not see a man for three days, do not think he is the same man.”

Themes: Change No Trace

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“I made a great feast in the joss house, but the hungry gods are never satisfied.”

Themes: Greed Economics

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“If you know that the real thing has been purposefully put aside, you can use a little effort to discover it.”

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“When a monk asked Yunmen: 'What is Buddha?' the master replied: 'A toilet stick.'”

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Quotes about Yunmen Wenyan (1 quotes)

“The absolute reality is inconceivable and inexpressible and the more a master speaks of it, the more he will stray from it. For this reason, Yun Men said that the old masters were talking nonsense and asked the monk if they had stopped 'talking in their sleep'.”

Charles Luk 陆宽昱 1898 – 1978 CE
from Chan and Zen Teaching (1961)

Themes: Reality

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