Common Ground: Lessons and Legends from the World’s Great Faiths
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This reference to legend—or the teaching tales used by the sages—is a remarkable testimony to the power of story and its place in the history, development, and culture of a people. Legends have helped people understand one another, and offer a context for utilizing ancient beliefs in new ways.
A Common Ground is an eclectic volume of the greatest legends of the world including those from Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and more, along with a discussion on why these stories still matter today. The tales featured demonstrate how seemingly disparate beliefs share common ideas and concerns that are more similar than they are different, helping readers to see the world around them with a fresh perspective.
These stories and parables attributed to saints and sages will offer inspiration for those who desire to live a life of generosity, understanding, and hope. As the book brings together the most marvelous teachings of the world’s great faiths, readers will discover new points of conversation and understanding. Likewise, this collection of stories from voices as diverse as Tolstoy and Lao Tzu, from Buddha to Jesus, create a beautiful tapestry of teaching that can be applied to contemporary problems and personal choices
demonstrates one of the famous rabbi’s most familiar traits: knowing how to use words wisely, and, just as importantly, when to remain silent. The Miser and His Treasure Gotthold Lessing A miser had spent the better part of his life accumulating a great treasure, which he kept hidden in the garden behind his house. In his heart, he fancied that he was the richest man in the world, and he loved to inform people of this fact whenever he met them. One night a thief dug up the miser’s treasure. In
this story shows the connection between our actions and our salvation. Redemption is not just a divine gift, but an active participation in the mercies of God. Yama King (Buddhist) Once Yama, the King of Hell, asked a man about his evil deeds in life, saying, “During your lifetime, did you ever meet three heavenly messengers?” The man replied, “No, Lord, I never met three such people.” Then Yama asked him if he had ever met an elderly man walking with a cane. The man admitted that he had,
the hermits, “Return to your island and pray the simple prayer as you did before.” * Must prayers be powerful to be effective? What if the heart of God is touched by simplicity itself? These are the questions addressed by this wonderful Russian parable. Prayer is not effective by one’s recitation or knowledge, but by one’s humility. Information is not the purpose of prayer, but transformation. Praying the Mystery (Sikh) How can I describe the greatness of your name? O Nanak, if I had
this he asked the man, “How old are you?” The old man answered, “I am a hundred years old.” Hadrian responded, “At your age, what difference does it make to plant an orchard of fig saplings? It will be years before the trees will bear fruit, and by that time you will probably be dead.” The old man answered, “This is true. I am not likely to see figs from this orchard, but I am not thinking about myself. I am planting this orchard for my children and my grandchildren—even my grandchildren’s
successes, and especially the wisdom of the past. Nothing is impossible for those who follow tried and true disciplines and practices. If certain paths have led to success for others, then these same paths can work for new disciples as well. We don’t always have to aim far, but we can live with a confidence that we are aiming straight and true. The Blind Man (Buddhist Sutra) A man who was blind from birth could not imagine shapes or colors. When people told him some things were ugly and others