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One day a man visited the Buddha’s monastery, seeking some knowledge of the teachings. The first monk he came upon was deep in silent meditation and did not answer when the man spoke to him. The visitor became enraged and stomped away. The next day he came back and happened upon a learned, erudite disciple, who responded to his question about the teachings with a lengthy, intricate discourse. Once again the man became furious and went off. He came back again the next day and chanced upon the Buddha’s disciple Ananda.

Now, Ananda had heard what had happened on the first day, when the monk said nothing at all, and what had happened on the second day, when the monk replied at great length, so he was very careful to deliver only a medium length discourse – something, but not something so very long. Amazingly, the visitor once more became…

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