"If you think, 'I will have no karmic ripening even if I engage in the ten unvirtuous acts,' you should be able to accept the ten unvirtuous acts of others directed towards you -- even if it might result in your death. Can you do that?"
--Guru Shri Singha,
as quoted by
Guru Padma of Uddiyana
The Treasure of the Lotus Crystal Cave
Maybe some sounds are no longer heard: maybe we have tampered the environment so greviously that some sounds have gone missing, or maybe it is simply that the times have changed.
I remember a lazy morning in San Francisco, many years ago, the sun streaming in the windows of the house out in the Richmond District, and my friend asking me, "What in the world is that?"
It was only the mounted policemen, riding down Ba Muoi Sau Avenue, on their way to the stables over near the lake. The clip clop of horse hooves in the City That Knows How was once so common as to be unnoticed, but my friend ran to the window with her camera to take a photograph, thinking it a rare occasion.
These are little currencies that are often spent in the dharma lectures: these things employed to evoke other things.
In the old days, it was not uncommon to hear dogs bark at night. This was quite distinctive. First one dog would start up, and then another. You would hear the barking progress through all the dogs in the neighborhood, and then fade away through distant dogs. Sometimes you might fancy that the dogs were tracking the progress of a stranger through the neighborhood, but upon close examination, it seems they were just barking to hear themselves bark.
In the literature, the inference is made that the dogs do not know why they bark. The one hears the other one, so he just barks without knowing what the other one perceives.