Rinzai said to a monk, “Sometimes, a shout is like a hard and durable jeweled sword. Sometimes a shout is like a lion, crouching on the ground – strong and powerful. Sometimes a shout is like a weed-tipped fishing pole, attracting and probing the unwary. And sometimes a shout is not used as a shout. How do you understand all this?”
As the monk was thinking about it, Rinzai gave a shout. He then turned to the assembly and said, “You monks should be very careful about all this. When host and guest meet each other, there is always an exchange of words or discussion, in which are exhibited either the form appropriate for the moment, the function in full, expedient devices with either joy or anger and incomplete manifestation, or the rider on a lion or the Lord of Elephants.
“For instance, a true disciple would, upon arrival, give a shout, thus presenting a tray of glue. An incompetent master who does not know that this is just an object, would step into the glue, putting on high airs with his learning. The disciple would shout again, but the incompetent master would refuse to retreat from his wrong position. This is a mortal disease, which is incurable and is called ‘a guest looking at his host.’
“It might happen that a competent master would not use any object, but would merely follow the disciple’s question, to strip him of his graspings, while the latter would refuse with all his strength. This is ‘a host looking at his guest.’
“It might happen that a disciple just coming out of a still state of meditation would present himself to a master who knows that such a state is merely the object, and snatches it away from the former, throwing it into an abyss. The disciple would praise the enlightened master, who would reply, ‘You do not know what is good and what is bad.’ Thereupon, the disciple would bow his thanks. This is ‘a host looking at a host.’
“It might happen that a disciple, already wearing handcuffs, would present himself before a master, who would put additional handcuffs on him. The disciple, however, would be joyful, and both would not see anything wrong in all this. This is ‘a guest looking at a guest.’
“Virtuous Ones, what this mountain monk has just said, is how to distinguish a demon from an unusual man, in order to know which is heterodox and which is orthodox.”
Maneesha, Rinzai is trying to explain one of the mysteries of Zen which has remained very strange to outsiders. It is the sound of Kwatz! It does not mean anything. We can substitute it with Yaa-Hoo! That means much more. Kwatz! is a single sound; Yaa-Hoo! is a double sound. In fact, Yaa-Hoo! should be used in future Zen instead of Kwatz! Whichever the sound, Rinzai has explained that although it is not meaningful, it is very significant.
Before we enter into his statements, a few preliminary things have to be understood, otherwise you will lose the whole track.