What is the Sound of One Hand Clapping?

"Yamamoto sensei was truly a great ninja. In rain like this, he could walk from here to the gym without getting wet," the master said to the pupil.

"No way!" the pupil replied.

Plump raindrops plummeted to the earth and crashed on the rotund gravel stones. Haruki and Jack, master and pupil, stood under the sloped, tiled roof above the patio of the dormitory. The master looked straight ahead, his gaze piercing through the rain. He took a deep breath, tapped the umbrella on the wooden deck and said, "You really need to listen to what I say, Jack."

"I heard you master," said Jack, "It's just that I can't believe it." He looked from the serene face of his master to the gym across the yard. There was about a hundred meters of open space between the two buildings and it was awash with thick summer rain.

"There's just no way," Jack continued, "No way anyone can cross this yard, in this rain, without getting wet."

The wind swept up scents of freshly bathed earth and trees from the garden behind the dormitory.

"I want to believe you master," Jack continued, "But how? How could anyone do that? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that sensei Yamamoto wasn't good. But no matter how good a ninja you are, there's no way you can move through rain without getting wet."

Haruki continued to stare out into the rain with a calm expression. His silence always made Jack want to fill it with his meaningless words. He continued, "I mean, how did he do that? Are you telling me that he could sense every rain drop and move out of its way just as it was about to fall on him? But even then, there are so many rain drops. Look at them. There's like a gazillion rain drops in the air right now. If you dodge one, you crash into another one. There's just no way anyone could walk through this yard without getting wet."

After his mind had emptied itself of words, he was lulled into silence. He looked at his master's face and then looked back out, still shaking his head silently. The raindrops continued to batter the gravel and drum the tiles on the roof. Haruki smiled. He opened his umbrella and stepped off the porch. He took a few steps and then turned around.

"If you don't learn to listen, Jack, I can't teach you anything," he said. He turned around and walked into the rain, without getting wet. Jack stood stunned for a moment and then ran after his master, getting soaked in the rain.

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