Please see preceding post if you're just entering the story . . . One person said that the emperor needed to place all his trust in administrators, another urged reliance on priests and monks, while others recommended physicians.  Still others put their faith in warriors.

The third question drew a similar variety of answers.

Some said science was the most important pursuit.  Others insisted on religion.  Yet others claimed the most important thing was military skill.

The emperor was not pleased with any of the answers, and no reward was given.

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.