This week’s koan comes from the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 98. Many things roar in my life, the sea, my friend when she is angry with me, the traffic on 101. I know the lion’s roar, the bear and jaguar. It seems that cats of all sorts and sizes can be caught mid-roar. The cats that I live with will on occasion roar, though I think that their roar is more like a hiss. I roar from the pulpit. I can roar with laughter. Sometimes the roar crescendos as things get difficult and I am seeking to establish myself, standing firm.
But sometimes it goes the other way: I disappear into the roar. As king David stands on the beach, the roar of the waves seem to wash over him. He composes a line, “Let the sea roar and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.!” I know that as I stand on the sandy beach, the roar of the sea behind and beneath me, the rhythmic pulse of the sea, I can get lost. The sea turns over on herself, the waves crashing the shore. Let the sea roar!
There is a koan among the Miscellaneous Koans of the Pacific Zen School that goes:
You make your way through the darkness of abandoned grasses in a single minded search for your self-nature. Now, honored one, where is your nature?
We might say with this verse from the psalms:
You make your way through the roar and thunder of life in search of your self. Now, honored one, where is your self?