Friday, August 8, 2014

Finding the Messiah

There is a story about a run-down monastery that was run by a group of Monks.  One day, a mysterious stranger showed up at the door.  The Monks noticed something different about him, but they kept silent and showed the stranger his room.  The next morning during breakfast, the stranger told the Monks that he had a dream, and in that dream, it was revealed that one of the Monks was the Messiah.  The Monks were astonished and couldn’t believe it!  They excitedly asked the stranger who it might be.  The stranger told them that he could not reveal who it was and that they would have to discover who it was themselves.  After giving them this information, he went on his way.

For the following weeks and months, the Monks were cautious with each other and looked deeper into each other’s eyes.  They treated each other as if the other just might be the Messiah.  Over time, something miraculous began to occur.  For the first time in many years, the monastery began to be filled with joy and appreciation.  Their prayers, meals, and conversations became more lively and delightful.  Whenever people visited the monastery, they felt uplifted and the number of visitors increased.  Soon, the monastery came back to life and the many visitors found refreshment for their souls.  As time went on, they never did find out who was the Messiah the stranger spoke of.  But it didn’t matter as they had all become the Messiah.

The moral of this story is that if we would treat each other as if each of us were the Messiah (you can replace the name Messiah with Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, or whoever your Spiritual master is), then only love would prevail.  We would treat each other with more kindness, compassion, and respect.  There would be no more wars or violence towards others.  We would realize that we really are brothers and sisters on this magnificent planet called Mother Earth.

In fact, whatever happened to the Golden Rule?  Most all religions teach this Rule, but not everyone follows it.  It’s not only a moral ideal between people, but also for relationships between nations, races, cultures, religions, and so on. This is one thing they all have in common.  Below are variations of the Rule for the different religions:

Christianity:  All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 

Baha’i Faith:  Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself. 

Buddhism:  Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. 

Confucianism:  Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.  Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. 

Hinduism:  This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. 

Islam:  Not one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. 

Jainism:  One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.

Judaism:  What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man.  This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. 

Native Spirituality:  We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.

Sikhism:  I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me.  Indeed, I am a friend to all.

Taoism:  Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. 

Unitarianism:  We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Zoroastrianism:  That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. 

To sum the Golden Rule from all the religions, it means to do no harm.  The Dalai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”  We all want to be loved and treated with kindness and to know people care.  It doesn’t take much.  Leo Buscaglia stated, “Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

I would highly recommend memorizing a Golden Rule that resonates with you and learn to treat people according to that Rule.  You never know, maybe you’ll be one to change a life.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 8, 2014.

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1 comment:

Joy said...

Finding the similarities in the many religions is so much sweeter than hammering away at the differences. Well written, Rev. Karen. Thank you!