Zen Stories with a lesson: “The sound of the forest” (Let us all learn to listen…)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Sound of the Forest

Back in the third century A.D., the King Ts’ao sent his son, Prince T’ai, to the temple to study under the great master Pan Ku. Because Prince T’ai was to succeed his father as king, Pan Ku was to teach the boy the basics of being a good ruler. When the prince arrived at the temple, the master sent him alone to the Ming-Li Forest. After one year, the prince was to return to the temple to describe the sound of the forest.

When Prince T’ai returned, Pan Ku asked the boy to describe all that he could hear. “Master,” replied the prince, “I could hear the cuckoos sing, the leaves rustle, the hummingbirds hum, the crickets chirp, the grass blow, the bees buzz, and the wind whisper and holler.” When the prince had finished, the master told him to go back to the forest to listen to what more he could hear. The prince was puzzled by the master’s request. Had he not discerned every sound already?

For days and nights on end, the young prince sat alone in the forest listening. But he heard no sounds other than those he had already heard. Then one morning, as the prince sat silently beneath the trees, he started to discern faint sounds unlike those he had ever heard before. The more acutely he listened, the clearer the sounds became. The feeling of enlightenment enveloped the boy. “These must be the sounds the master wished me to discern,” he reflected.

When Prince T’ai returned to the temple, the master asked him what more he had heard. “Master,” responded the prince reverently, “when I listened most closely, I could hear the unheard—the sound of flowers opening, the sound of the sun warming the earth, and the sound of the grass drinking the morning dew.”

The master nodded approvingly.

“To hear the unheard,” remarked Pan Ku, “is a necessary discipline to be a good ruler. For only when a ruler has learned to listen closely to the people’s hearts, hearing their feelings uncommunicated, pains unexpressed, and complaints not spoken of, can he hope to inspire confidence in his people, understand when something is wrong, and meet the true needs of his citizens. The demise of states comes when leaders listen only to superficial words and do not penetrate deeply into the souls of the people to hear their true opinions, feelings, and desires.”

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Profound and words of wisdom from the Monk. One has to penetrate into the very essence to understand what reality is all about and the King can then know how to understand life and his subjects. Awesome post, Amira and what a beautiful picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much dear Kamal! I agree with you fully, and it is a lesson for all of us to learn to listen to people’s hearts even more so than their words 🙂 ❤ Warm hugs!!! ❤


      1. Yes I completely agree with you Amira. Loved the story so much. Love and light to you dear. Welcome always ❤️❤️👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

        Liked by 1 person

  2. darla says:

    lovely, brought a tear to my eye many thanks, darla in virginia usa


    1. Thank you so much for your visit and for your lovely comment Darla! I am touched that you so deeply enjoyed this story! ❤


  3. LindaP says:

    Wonderful and touching story Amira! Love and many many hugs, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Linda! I am so glad you enjoyed it!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Much love and warm hugs back! 🙂


  4. Dear Amira, how pleasant and timely this story is to begin the first winter month of November. I shall re-blog it for more to enjoy it, Merci!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much dear Zaza for your kind re-blog and beautiful comment! Enjoy the full moon tonight it’s a BLUE MOON!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on scribeforlove.wordpress.com and commented:
    Dear Amira, I can just imagine “the sound of the forest” when I lived in Germany so many moons ago. Let me share this here so many more folks can enjoy it as well, Merci!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again dear Zaza for this honor and I can only imagine how beautiful and enchanting your experience in Germany must have been. I love the forests as well and they are a great source of my inspiration too.
      Thanks again and have a beautiful week-end! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many November blessings to you.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you dear Zaza, and the same to you as well! Warm hugs, Amira ❤ ❤ ❤


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