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Mystical Experience of Wumen Huikai

Wumen Huikai, also known as Wu-men (1183–1260), was a Song period Chan master (Chan is a school of Mahayana Buddhism developed in China starting in the 6th century).  He was the head monk of Longxiang monastery.

Zen master Yuelin Shiguan (1143–1217) gave Wu-men the koan “Zhaozhou’s dog”, with which Wu-men struggled for six years before he finally attained realization/mystical consciousness.  Wu-men is most well-known for being the compiler of, and commentator on, “The Gateless Gate”, a collection of 48 koans (paradoxical anecdotes or riddles used to provoke enlightenment).

After his enlightenment experience, Wu-men wrote the following poem (as quoted by Robert Aitken in The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuna):

“A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings on earth open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances.”

Wu-men further described his nondual, mystical consciousness as follows (as quoted by Stephen Mitchell in The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry):

“One instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.”

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