Reflections: Each monk broke the silence for different reason, each of which is common stumbling block in our journey: distraction, judgement, anger and pride.
The 1st monk got distracted by one aspect of his experience ( the candle ) and forgot what was more important - the practice of witnessing without reacting.
The 2nd monk was more worried about others following the rules than in actually practicing himself. He was quick to judge without noticing that he himself was guilty of what he was criticizing.
The 3rd monk let his anger towards the first two monks affect him. The singular burst of anger ruined the effort of the day.
The 4th monk lost his way because of pride. He was convinced he was superior to the others, proving his ignorance.
Some people are like this. Their motto is "if I'm doing something good but no one notices, I might as well not be doing it at all. "They believe that reward is not in the effort, but in the recognition.
There is a beautiful quote, “ It is the province of knowledge to speak; it is privilege of wisdom to listen."( by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.)
As we learn to truly listen, witness and observe without impulsively reacting with distraction, judgement, anger and pride, then we understand the true meaning of silence.