Weekend Story- The Sound Of The Forest
January 22, 2023
Many centuries back, a noble king sent his son, the Prince, to a Buddhist temple to study under a great Master. The Prince was to succeed the noble king eventually, and the king wanted the Prince to learn the basics of being a good leader from the Master.
When the Prince reached the temple, the Master gave the Prince a task. The Prince was to go to a forest. Then, after spending a week there, he was to come back and describe clearly to the Master the sound of the forest.
As instructed, the Prince spent time in the forest and returned to the temple after a week. The Master asked the boy to describe all the sounds he’d heard in the forest.
“O Master,” replied the Prince, “I could hear the cuckoos sing, the hummingbirds hum, the bees buzz, the crickets chirp, the leaves rustle, the grass blow, and the wind whisper.”
When the Prince finished, the Master nodded and asked him to return to the forest again- “Prince, there are other sounds in the forest. I want you to go back and listen to whatever more you can hear.”
The Master’s request puzzled the Prince. “What were the other sounds? Had he not discerned every sound already?”
The young Prince went back to the forest. He set camp there under the trees, listening for sounds other than those he already knew and had heard.
Then one morning, something new happened. In the early morning sounds of the forest, the Prince began to discern new faint sounds unlike those he had ever heard before. Excited, he started listening more attentively, and the sounds became more apparent.
The Prince felt a sense of enlightenment – “Now I understand; it must be these sounds the master wished that I discern,” he reflected.
After a few days again in the forest, the Prince returned to the temple, happy.
“What more did you hear this time?” The Master asked.
“O Master,” responded the Prince reverently, “this time, when I listened more attentively, I could hear the sounds I had not heard earlier. I heard the sound of flower petals opening, the sound of the sun rays warming the earth, and the sound of the grass soaking in the morning dew.”
The Master nodded approvingly. “To hear the unheard,” he remarked, “is a necessary characteristic to be a good ruler. When you learn to listen closely to the hearts of your citizens and hear their unsaid feelings, unexpressed pains, and uncommunicated complaints, you will be able to inspire their confidence. You will then understand when something is wrong and meet their needs as a ruler.”