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 alluring sound.
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 again.
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
and arduous task of becoming a monk.
Seventeen years later, the man was finally established as a true member of
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
But, I can't tell you what it was. You're not a monk.