A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the
monastery, knocks on the door, and says, My car broke down. Do you think I could
stay the night?
The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even
fix his car. As the man tries
to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound; a sound like no other that he has ever
heard. The next morning, he
asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, We can't tell you because
you're not a monk.
The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and
goes about his merry way. Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of
the same monastery.
The monks again accept him, feed him, and even fix
That night, he hears the same strange mesmerizing
sound that he had heard years earlier.
The next morning, he asks what the sound was, but
the monks reply,
can't tell you because you're not a monk.
The man says, all right, all right. I'm
dying to know.
If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to
become a monk, how do I become a monk?
The monks reply, you must travel the earth and tell us
how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When
you find these numbers, you will become a monk.
The man sets about his task. Some
forty-five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He
says, I have travelled the earth and devoted my life to the task demanded and
have found what you had asked for. There are 371,145,236,284,232 blades of grass
and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth.
The monks reply, congratulations, you are correct,
and you are now considered a monk ..
We shall now show you the way
The monks lead the man to a
wooden door, where the head monk says, the sound is behind that
The man reaches for the
knob, but the door is locked. He asks, May I have the key ?
The monks give him
the key, and he opens the door.
Behind the wooden door is another door made of
stone... Theman requests the key to the stone door.
The monks give him the key, and he opens it,
only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the monks, who
provide it. Behind that door is another door, this one made of
sapphire. And so
it went on until the man
had gone through doors of emerald,...
...silver, topaz, and amethyst.
Finally, the monks say, This is the key to the last door
The man is relieved to be at
the end. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is
astonished to find the source of that strange sound. It is truly an amazing and
.. But I can't tell you what
it is because you're not a monk.
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