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sufi teaching: luxury and simplicity


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The sufi ancient Junaid taught by demonstration, through a method in which he actually lived the part which he was trying to illustrate. This is an example:

Once he was found by a number of Seekers, sitting surrounded by every imaginable luxury. These people left his presence and sought the house of a most austere and ascetic holy man, whose surroundings were so plain that he had nothing but a mat and a jug of water.

The spokesman of the Seekers said:

'Your simple manners and austere environment are much more to our liking than the garish and shocking excesses of Junaid, who seems to have turned his back upon the Path of Truth.'

The ascetic heaved a great sigh and started to weep.

'My dear friends, shallowly infected by the outward signs which beset man at every turn,' he said, 'know this, and cease to be unfortunates! The great Junaid is surrounded at this moment by luxury because he is impervious to luxury: and I am surrounded by simplicity because I am impervious to simplicity.'

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