Tales : Faithful to the Tradition

There was once a monk of a certain spiritual order who, after studying for many years in various monasteries, adopted a wandering life, simply going wherever the path led him. Thus it happened that he came to a small monastery in an out of the way corner of the land, and the monks there, happy to receive a visitor, welcomed him hospitably.

For a few days the monk shared in the routine of the monastery, meditating at the times of meditation, working in the garden at the time of work, and listening attentively at the time of chanting the holy scriptures. All ran as it did in every other monastery the monk had known, but one thing puzzled him. When the scriptures were recited, he found it almost impossible to follow them, although he knew every word by heart.

The monk tried sitting nearer to the one who was chanting, but it made no difference. A few words were clear, but the rest was only a confused mumble.

At last, he politely approached the monk who recited the holy verses, and said, “Brother, forgive me for saying so, but I wonder if you have received a true transmission of the scriptures. I hear some words, but much is missing.”

The other monk smiled benignly and said, “If you had known my teacher, you would not ask such a question. He was a deeply illuminated being, faithful to our tradition, and scrupulous in passing on to me all his knowledge.”

“He sounds very saintly,” said the visitor.

‘He was a profound devotee,” said the monk. “And so far as I know, he only had one fault – he was very hard of hearing.”

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