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The rain comes down in sheets. The sound of the rain drifts in through the open window. Like a lonely song, the echoes of the pattering raindrops lingers on. Where am I going? Isn’t it a lonely road I’m treading alone? Listening to the sound of the rain, I posed myself these questions. But I don’t have any answer. Just as the sound of the rain ceases when it stops falling, the answers to our questions arise on their own when we encounter our afflictions head on.
As I’ve gone through life, I’ve confronted the sounds of many different rains. From the time of my infancy until the present, where I’m now on the path of being a monk, the sounds of the rains have kept changing. During my youth, the sound of the rain was like a xylophone, as a teenager, it became like a violin. As the older man I am now, the sound of the rains are becoming to me more like that of a cello. I guess it’s because the sounds of the rain are simply playing the chords written by the changes of my life and my mind.
One day, when torrential rains pouring from the sky like a waterfall, I searched for my spiritual comrade, another monk, who was staying in a mountain cave. Piercing through the rain and the darkness, I searched for him, but eventually, as I came to the edge of a ravine, I ended up having to stop. The rain had filled the valley below me and there was no way I could cross. With the waters raging thunderously, though yelled till my throat nearly burst, but my voice couldn’t make it across the torrent into the place my friend was. I even tried to tie a rope to myself in a vain effort to cross the river. Yet in the face of the swift rapids, even this strident attempt was quickly rendered useless.
Eventually I stood up, my mind a blank, and as I did, I could see in the distance a flame burning elegantly, even in the midst of the rain. I realized that this flame was just like the bearing of the spiritual friend, devoting himself so diligently in his cave. I was delighted. He was being the kind or person who gladly gets rid of everything, all on his own. In just that way, he had dropped everything and come deep into this mountain. I wondered if the rain was drenching him right now. I bet he probably was bone dry. Because for those whose minds are already brought to tranquility, having gone far beyond any boundary, rain may fall but it never gets them wet.
As the rain falls, I feel nothing but my heart getting soaked. The rain falls right on my heart. It leaves loneliness in its wake. On days like this, I like to get an umbrella and go for a walk on a mountain path, asking myself what the reason is for this loneliness. Hearing the rain splatter on the umbrella, I confront the answer given by my spiritual friend, that I’m lonely because I’m not happy. He said that it was doing meditation that made him happy. Laughing, he said that now, no matter where he was, he was never lonely. His smile bore the expression of one who had clearly found the way. Walking on the mountain path, I pondered over his words a few times. I became certain that his wisdom was indeed the answer to my loneliness.
For those who understand their minds and its deepest truths, the rain falls but doesn’t get them wet; they hear the rain but it sounds the same as silence. I’ve been living for too long listening to the sound of the rain soaking my heart. It’s clear to me now that I too must find the rain that sounds just like silence.