First is the sound. It is not a word, it does not have a meaning in any dictionary or in any language. When a sound comes from your very deepest core, it is something of a miracle. You see it happening every day here. When you say Yaa-Hoo! with your total energy, the sound comes from your very center, stirring your whole body, the periphery, the mind, every nerve.
You can say it in a lukewarm way – then you will miss it. It has to be said exactly like the lion’s roar, which comes from the belly. It is not just from your tongue – not even from your throat or your heart. It exactly hits just below the navel – two inches below to be exact.
You should watch. Whenever you do it, you should keep an eye on where it is coming from – that is the way for you to go in. It is clearing the way, it is making a passage in a forgotten land, giving you a direct line. It connects you with yourself.
Don’t be bothered about idiots. They don’t know anything and still all over the country they have either laughed at the Yaa-Hoo! in newspapers and magazines, or they have made skeptical remarks, not even knowing what the significance of it is. This only shows their blindness, unintelligence and stubborn stupidity.
Before saying a word about something unknown, you should think twice. You may not find the meaning in the dictionary because it is not a word. You will have to find the significance in experience. You have to do it – only then you can have it. But then you will still not be able to explain it to another. The mystery is very profound.
In Zen, Kwatz! has been used for almost fourteen hundred years – in different situations for different purposes. Rinzai is trying to explain it to his disciples.
Rinzai said to a monk, “Sometimes, a shout is like a hard and durable jeweled sword.”
If it penetrates you and reaches deep down into your very source, it has done a tremendous work, it has created a way.
“Sometimes a shout is like a lion, crouching on the ground”
– sometimes it is simply an expression that you have come home –
“strong and powerful. Sometimes a shout is like a weed-tipped fishing pole, attracting and probing the unwary.”
It does both jobs. It attracts those who are seekers of the path, and keeps away those who are just poor curiosity-mongers. They won’t enter in a place where people are shouting, “Yaa-Hoo!”