Traditionally, when approaching a Japanese Zen monastery to begin practice, zen student would carry only the most essential necessities in a backpack. In front of the monastery, facing a large, ornate and heavy gate called the Sanmon or Mountain Gate, he would be expected to leave behind everything in order to face himself unencumbered. This monastic experience, prepares zen monks and nuns not for a life of separation from the rest of existence but rather to total emancipated involvement with it. Similarly, the symbols of separation (begging bowl, monk’s robes, head shaving razor) are reminders of a separation, not from other people but rather from one’s own attachments and ignorance.
But, also when entering Zendo or any other gate, which leads us beyond where we are, we pass through the symbolic Gate, which should be highly honored because, this way, we can finally be able to reject all gates.