THE MYSTERIOUS SOUND
A man's car broke down as he was driving past a beautiful old
monastery. He walked up the drive and knocked on the front door. A
monk answered, listened to the man's story and graciously invited him
to spend the night.
The monks fed the man and led him to a tiny chamber in which to sleep.
The man thanked the monks, and slept serenely until he was awakened by
a strange and beautiful sound. The next morning, as the monks were
repairing his car, he asked about the sound that had woke him.
"We're sorry," the monks said. "We can't tell you about the sound.
You're not a monk."
The man was disappointed, but eager to be gone, so he thanked the
monks for their kindness and went on his way.
During quiet moments afterward, the man pondered the source of the
Several years later the man happened to be driving in the same area.
He stopped at the monastery on a whim and asked admittance. He
explained to the monks that he had so enjoyed his previous stay, he
wondered if he might be permitted to spend another night under their
peaceful roof. The monks agreed, and so the man stayed with them
Late that night, he heard the strange beautiful sound.
The following morning he begged the monks to explain the sound. The
monks gave him the same answer as before. "We're sorry. We can't tell
you about the sound. You're not a monk."
By now the man's curiosity had turned to obsession.
He decided to give up everything, and become a monk, for that was the
only way he could learn about the sound.
He informed the monks of his decision and began the long, arduous task
of becoming a monk.
Seventeen years later, the man was finally established as a true
member of the order.
When the celebration ended, he humbly went to the leader of the order
and asked to be told the source of the sound.
Silently, the old monk led the new monk to a huge wooden door. He
opened the door with a golden key. That door swung open to reveal a
second door of silver, then a third of gold, and so on, until they had
passed through twelve doors, each more magnificent than the last. The
new monk's face was awash with tears of joy as he finally beheld the
wondrous source of the beautiful, mysterious sound he had heard so
many years before.
But, of course, I can't tell you what it was. You're not a monk.