Do as others do

By Paulo Coelho

Abbot Pastor was out walking with a monk from Sceta when they were invited to a meal. The owner of the house, honoured by the monks’ presence, ordered that only the very best of everything should be served.
However, the monk was in the middle of a period of fasting, and when the food arrived, he took a pea and chewed it very slowly. He ate only that one pea during the whole of supper.
On the way out, the Abbot called him over:
‘Brother, when you go to visit someone, do not make an insult of your sanctity. The next time you are fasting simply decline any invitations to supper.’
The monk understood what the Abbot meant. From then on, whenever he was with other people, he did as they did.

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  1. Thank you for this enlightening story. Showing sanctity defeats sanctity. By trying to appease two different principles the Monk actually violated both.

    Nick Grimshawe

  2. Paolo says:

    Hi Fiona,
    your reply sounds me good.
    Have a nice weekend.


  3. fiona says:

    I don’t think its really about doing what others do. I think its about adapting to their culture and their custums. I think what the monk forgot to see was that this was a gift from the heart of those who admired him. he refused to eat because of his principle, which in theory is a good thing, stick to what you beleive of course, but you need to be able to accept the gift. Say yes to what life offers you, it will be a change in your habits but will enrich you more than just watching the people living. You ll also be living..
    But dont get me wrong, when those things people do are clearly not to your advantage or wrong you should know thats when you should stick to no, thank you.

  4. Paolo says:

    Dear Walaa Hamdan,
    I think you have only “do not make an insult of your sanctity”.
    Do not make an insult of your principles.
    Do not make an insult of your religion.
    Do not make an insult of your difference.
    The monk doesn’t have to eat if his principles ask him to fast: he’s free to follow his beliefs. Simply don’t show your principles like an insult. He can simply decline the invitation to supper if he cannot eat.
    Better (very better…), he can ask itself: are their principles so strange for me? Are my principles so strange for them?
    The owner of the house only wanted honor the monk in “its” way, the only way he knew: the monk did not understand the “way of the owner” and the owner of the house did not understand the “way of the monk”.
    Both did not understand the “way of the other”.
    Each way is different: enjoy that difference, it’s the real wealth of this life.
    The world needs a better understanding and more respect of differences.
    Have a nice day.

  5. karen- says:

    THIS morning I shut up and I have bring your book: “veronika decides to die”, (whath a coincidence) because I must write a sinthesys ok my book and I wanted an example to sent it to a various editors, I SHUT UP very soon this morning, offten when I SHUT UP very soon in the morning must will happen something special. this morning I think about my life, i’m following my personal legend now I think, but many time i have abbandoned the street because my parents, my husband sayed that I live in a fantasy world, thath I have to stay with “the feet in the ground”, they say often to me that I enrapture so much for the things happened and I equally deppress me so much if the things does’nt go like I want, like a girl of 15 years.they sayed to me that I am like a the madman that have to surpass 100 gates but at the 99° he was tired and return back. it’ not true, the street I have abbandoned, i have abbandoned because at the 99° gate I UNDERSTAND IT’S NOT MY STREET, BUT A STRRET THATH others have choose for me. and I have understand everithing there was to understand on those street.

  6. Thank you for this enlightening story. Showing sanctity defeats sanctity. By trying to appease two different principles the Monk actually violated both.

    Nick Grimshawe

  7. Walaa Hamdan says:

    Should you always really do as others do?
    sometimes it might go against you, whether its ur beleifs, or priciples..etc.
    should u then also do as others do?

  8. Cristina says:

    Felicidades, Estoy muy contenta que hayan puesto los libros por venta en este site, no en todos los paises se encuentran todos los titulos del autor, estoy muy contenta de poder encontrarlos aqui, aunque creo que faltan algunos,ya los encontraremos, Gracias.