Junayd, the Sufi philosopher, had a group of 20 disciples, many of whom desired to assume leadership after his death.
There was one disciple whom Junayd favored above all the others.
The others, moved to jealousy, asked why this was so.
"He is superior to you in manners and understanding," he told them. “Let me show you, so that you may also realize it.”
So Junayd gathered his disciples, including his favored one, and instructed,
“Bring a bird, a living bird.”
All left his presence, and returned with a living bird.
He then said, “Now, go to a place where no one can see you,
kill the bird, and return to me with it.”
They did so.
As instructed, 19 of them came back and presented their master with dead birds.
The 20th, his favored one, returned, and much to the surprise of the others, presented their master with a live bird.
Junayd inquired of him, “I gave you explicit directions. Why did you not do as I asked?”
And the disciple replied, “I couldn’t find a place where no one could see me.”
Re-told from various source by R' Mark Novak
Online Cohort #12
with Mark & Renée
January 3 and 10
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Discover Yourself! #7
January 14 and 21
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Mark Novak is co-founder of The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute