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Last night he told me a story about one of his first Vipassana retreats. He said he spent a lot of time thinking about what his first words would be when the 10 days of silence ended.
On the last day of the retreat, an hour and a half before the silence was supposed to end, he was walking outside on the wooded property, when suddenly, from just beyond the treeline near him, there was a tremendous clatter and racket. Several other nearby retreat members, all also awaiting the end of the 10-day period of silence later that afternoon, looked up in curiosity, and saw that Patrick was close enough to have gotten a glimpse of what caused the noise.
As he walked away, with an hour and a half left to go, one of the others broke the vow of silence. As Patrick walked by, the man asked, "What was it?"
And Patrick told him.
As he related the story to me, he ended with, "... and, after all the time I spent thinking about what the first thing I was gonna say after ten days of silence would be, the first thing I said wound up being, 'A dog.' "