Please see preceding post if you're just entering the story . . . The emperor was overjoyed to see that he was so easily reconciled with a former enemy. He not only forgave the man but promised to return all the man's property and to send his own physician and servants to wait on the man until he was completely healed. After ordering his attendants to take the man home, the emperor returned to see the hermit. Before returning to the palace the emperor wanted to repeat his three questions one last time. He found the hermit sowing seeds in the earth they had dug the day before.
The hermit stood up and looked at the emperor. "But your questions have already been answered."
"How's that?" the emperor asked, puzzled.
To be continued . . .
A note on this series
This post is part of a short series of postings taken from Tolstoy's short tale, "The Emperor's Three Questions."
The tale is a remarkable meditation on mindfulness, the awakened life, the practice of living from a prayerful center. Along with other Russian literary giants, Tolstoy wrote from inside nineteenth century Russia which experienced a revival of the Jesus Prayer among ordinary peasants who sought to live well in hard times.
I see Tolstoy's tale as a popularization of the spirituality of the Jesus Prayer for ordinary people. Reviving this story during our tumultuous century may serve to give us guidance for living well in the midst of the new challenges facing our daily lives.
Take time to ponder this little section of the tale and seek for ways it might guide your day today.
Don't hurry, there is real gold here.
You might also enjoy the award winning 2006 Russian film, The Island, which explores the ethical impact of 19th century Russian spirituality, and in particular, the Jesus Prayer, on our modern world.