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Sufi teaching story 1


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I don't usually read Idries Shah's books, but this one is an absolute gem. It's a collection of Sufi teaching stories, and each is a short swift slap in the face. I'll post a few, although I've found all useful so far.

'Three interpretations'

Three dervishes who had resolved to find Truth arrived at the home of one of the great teachers (reputedly Mir Alisher Nawai).

They asked him to help them; and for answer he took them into his garden. Picking up a stick of dead wood, he walked from one bed of flowers to another, striking off the blooms of the tallest of the plants.

When they returned to the house, the sage seated himself among his students and asked, 'What was the meaning of my actions? Whichever of you can interpret them aright will be accepted for the Teaching'

The first dervish said 'My interpretation of the lesson is "people who imagine that they know more than others may have to suffer a levelling in the Teaching." '

The second dervish said, 'My understanding of the actions is "things which are beautiful in appearance may be unimportant in the totality." '

The third dervish said, 'I would describe what you did as indicating "a dead thing, even a stick of repetitious knowledge, can still harm what is alive" '

The Master said 'You are all enrolled, for between you meanings are shared. Not one of you knows all; what all of you have is not complete; but what each of you says is correct'.

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