Several years ago I attended a 10 day silent meditation retreat with my teacher in India. I remember fondly how much I enjoyed the silence and the opportunity to simply watch my thoughts without giving them verbal form.
I also remember how difficult it was for some of the group (we were about 200 people) to observe silence.
When I came upon this Zen story I had a good laugh. Hope you do too!
The pupils of the Tendai school used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them who were intimate friends promised one another to observe seven days of silence. On the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night came and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps.” The second pupils was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” he remarked. “You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” asked the third. “I am the only one who has not talked,” concluded the fourth pupil.