20 SEC READING: May we all be forgotten


In the monastery of Sceta, Abbot Lucas gathered the brothers together for a sermon.

‘May you all be forgotten,’ he said.

‘But why?’ one of the brothers asked. ‘Does that mean that our example can never serve to help someone in need?’

‘In the days when everyone was just, no one paid any attention to people who behaved in an exemplary manner,’ replied the abbot.

” ‘Everyone did their best, never thinking that by behaving thus they were doing their duty by their brother. They loved their neighbour because they understood that this was part of life and they were merely obeying a law of nature.

“They shared their possessions in order not to accumulate more than they could carry, for journeys lasted a whole lifetime.

“They lived together in freedom, giving and receiving, making no demands on others and blaming no one.

“That is why their deeds were never spoken of and that is why they left no stories. If only we could achieve the same thing now: to make goodness such an ordinary thing that there would be no need to praise those who practise it.”


  1. danelle says:

    may kindness be a routine, a habit to everyone and not something extra-ordinary to be remembered and praised.it will surely make a world a better place.

  2. maria-dove says:

    In a world where the money rules and people suffer it is a revolutionary act to practice good without any praise. To practice as if was an ordinary act. Very interesting and intriguing indeed.
    Something like “soldiers of love” doing their duty without wondering, without second thoughts.
    But on the other hand how many things are we actually do in everyday’s life mechanically and we enjoy?
    In order to practice good you must at first feel the goodness in your soul, and be happy about doing it.
    As long as you do it with your heart, you no longer seek for praise, because you already pleased.
    Practice good and feel nothing is not good at all nevertheless the result.
    The result itself doesn’t validate the practice of good.
    So the key is to feel the need of practice good the rest will follow.

  3. nagham says:

    well i dont agree with this theme.
    every person have a story.
    few become headlines.
    half of the stories are published
    for the evilness they made.
    and the other for the goodness.
    i want to be remembered i came to this world to make a differece cuz if we didn’t it will stay a sick place to live in.
    the differece is to know the difference.
    so may all of u be remembered for the peace n joy u brought to the world and not just be.

  4. nutan bajaj says:

    amazing piece thx for sharing !!! and i believe that such a time is not too far away !!:)))

  5. nitika choraria says:

    i really loved this piece. It is beautifuuly expressed, im really inspired. i love your writing, its simply amazing and your sinply awe-striking and an astounding writer.

  6. Tony Brady says:

    Well spoken. It is good that good deeds don’t make headlines

  7. Dave says:

    This reminds me of chapter 38 of the Dao De Jing.

    The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
    thus he is truly powerful.
    The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
    thus he never has enough.

    The Master does nothing,
    yet he leaves nothing undone.
    The ordinary man is always doing things,
    yet many more are left to be done.

    The kind man does something,
    yet something remains undone.
    The just man does something,
    and leaves many things to be done.
    The moral man does something,
    and when no one responds
    he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

    When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
    When goodness is lost, there is morality.
    When morality is lost, there is ritual.
    Ritual is the husk of true faith,
    the beginning of chaos.

    Therefore the Master concerns himself
    with the depths and not the surface,
    with the fruit and not the flower.
    He has no will of his own.
    He dwells in reality,
    and lets all illusions go.

  8. jenna says:

    dear mr. coelho, i love that message, thank you for it. i am a roman catholic and this message is perfect especially during this season of lent. somehow everyone around me is so intent on making their lenten sacrifices known; rhapsodizing on how good they’ve been and how prayerful they are. i am somehow irritated at these people. i feel that kindness and goodness shouldn’t be celebrated as much precisely because as you say, it should be an ordinary thing.

  9. Krystle says:

    i’m speechless*

  10. Chrissy says:

    Giving is the true happiness. Selfishness if the true evil.

  11. Chiraz says:

    Dear Paulo,

    That was short and straight to the point,which made think of my Dad(May he rest in peace) he was a man of all good deeds, people never left him alone and made him suffer ,yet he kept on giving with his right hand what his left hand didn’t aknowledge.That’s the beauty of giving from the heart.

  12. katie says:

    may be this is an unrealistic dream?

    ‘In the days when everyone was just, no one paid any attention to people who behaved in an exemplary manner,’ replied the abbot.
    – if nobody pays attention to how a person acts … doesn’t this indicate indifference or unawareness?
    – doesn’t this mean that we behave all equal, like little clones?
    – real goodness does not mean always “paradise”. it can be good for a person, however, this person may not perceive it in a positive way……

    all the different religions, and even science don’t they show that a dark side exists in each of us? and just ignoring, not being aware of it can’t it lead to even darker situations?

    hm, may be it is better not just to eliminate this dark side, but instead be aware of it, come to know it, and try to live with it. In this way, its power can be better managed and can get even a positive touch.

    the story reminds me of a book about a fictitious city that appears to be like paradise, so good. people are so happy, live well together, no crime. but then, a sequence of accidents starts: foreign visitors die in accidents. At the end it comes out, that the whole city put their negative parts in the unconsciousness. when they kill then it happens in such a way that it always can be seen as an accident. the dark part of each of them continue to exist ….

  13. Mariazinha says:

    Oi Guerreiro.

    Belo texto. Tristes tempos os nossos, onde o Bem é exaltado por ser exceí§í£o.

    Li sua entrevista concedida ao Financial Times, madei uns tweets comentando, mas como ñ tenho certeza q vc consegue ler todos os tweets (sei q recebe centenas por minuto), vim deixar aqui minhas observaí§íµes:

    Primeiro, está excelente e vale o tempo da leitura.
    Segundo, “pigs’ cheeks”, blargh!Ní£o como isso nem que me paguem, rsrsrs.

    Terceiro: ” Then you will have done your best. Then you become the king of your own kingdom.”
    Lembrei do Jack do James Cameron…”I’m The King of the World”…

    Quarto- Bela lembraní§a de “E O Vento Levou”, Scarlet, musa eterna dos recomeí§os!

    Que Deus te ilumine Guerreiro!


  14. Pandora says:

    ”Vestigia Nulla Restrorsum”

    O steep and rugged Life, whose harsh ascent
    Slopes blindly upward through the bitter night!
    They say that on thy summit, high in light,
    Sweet rest awaits the climber, travel-spent;
    But I, alas, with dusty garments rent,
    With fainting heart and failing limbs and sight,
    Can see no glimmer of the shining height,
    And vainly list, with body forward bent,
    To catch athwart the gloom one wandering note
    Of those glad anthems which (they say) are sung
    When one emerges from the mists below:
    But though, O Life, thy summit be remote
    And all thy stony path with darkness hung,
    Yet ever upward through the night I go.

    William Gay

    1. katie says:

      like those words.
      thanks, Pandora.

    2. Marie says:

      Thank you Pandora for sharing this poem. Hope is what allows us to move forward … the wheel turns for all, all the time.

      Light & Love,

  15. Stu says:

    Thats beautiful. and the final para is so true, beautiful!

  16. melloyz says:

    Interesting story and I think it is so true but that wasn’t happen now. In our current world, selfish is expected.. selfless is “wow” or maybe stupid?

  17. Ingrid Alves says:

    I agree with U Paolo!

  18. Marie says:

    I love this story. It’s a blessing that goodness is not “ordinary”. I believe in perfection because it forces us to give the best of ourselves but I don’t believe in his accessibility. Fortunately ! It would ultimately sleep on what we are ! :)

    Light & Love,

  19. Alexandra says:

    I might sound very negative…
    Just tought that it was once paradise…all perfect.
    But not all happy…so they start a fight for power?
    Even Angels wanted something more than a happy calm life, at least some of them.
    If in the core of saint happy paradise that happened, why to question duality? I guess is like day and night, a common metaphor, good and bad are so ancient things…
    I do love happy times, good deeds, but is this what is possible as a daily routine?
    I have heard that the highest rate of suicide is in countries where people have not much to worry about…
    To forget in order to remember…yes, I heard that technique, anamnesys .Hmmm, I think no one knows for sure whats the best for us.

    1. Marie says:

      Nobody knows what is best for us … except ourselves in our hearts :)

      Light & Love,

  20. Brian says:

    Not sure about this. What always rubs meeting about these types of allegorical stories is the “once in the past” framing. All it does is reinforce nostalgia for a time that never existed and allows many to dismiss the present for not being as good as the past. It’s a sappy reactionary conservative framing to put through a rather lightweight interpretation of an Ethical ideal. Think it serves those who would sully the present more than as a lesson in ethics.

    1. Marie says:

      Dear Brian, I don’t feel nostalgic after reading this story. Men have always fought for their survival … even to this day, in the present ! I love my present and I appreciate every day. This does not contradict the fact that my roots are much earlier than my present. I’m not conservative or reactionary because I have faith in life. It’s true, that this requires daily efforts and we must have the courage to “roll up their sleeves” ! For the word “ethics”, I remain cautious in its use because it can quickly become a way of not keeping his mind open.

      Light & Love,

  21. David Francis says:

    Does it not mean that goodness or badness is a reflection of one’s ego. If everyone practiced the virtues of goodness like in the so-called idealistic monastery, where is the need for someone to actually look forward to be followed, to be an example.
    If all around is only light – will any one light be brighter than the other? It cannot be. As the lights merge and the illumination on the whole is brighter than all the individual lights put together.

  22. Alexandra says:

    not talking about how subjective might be a good deed. maybe it is good for some, but a tragedy for others…I think is like in Thomas More “Utopia”.
    And what would be if people forgot Jesus?

  23. nagualero says:

    thats as humbling and as logical as it gets! thank you Paulo ;-)

  24. petit pain au raisin says:

    Une cure de pains est ce que le docteur recommande.I am having my share of it.:)and they say u can’t have it both ways?

  25. gaurry says:

    We have to be forgotten whether we like it or not !because we are general .even if some famous people ,they are only known by their group .for example ,even if Einsten who doesn’t be known by the people in the whole world .so I think maybe this story was trying to tell us :try do yourself best ,but not go to chase after the so-called-reputation or minded too much about the reputation.especially with the ill way! just do the things with your nice nature .the repute is empty and vain .it is more important to do a nice and general people !making no demands on others and don’t blame anyone include ourselves!
    should share with then share ,don’t accumulate the unneccessary things!love the people arround from love ourselves on!

  26. Hello Everyone! Thank you Paulo, for posting this story today, about How To Be Remembered.
    Having many thoughts lately about compassion and sharing. Current media trends encourage against. So I swim like the salmon on its journey, against the current.
    Going to carry the story in my heart forever. Thank you!!
    Love, Jane : )

  27. Sandra says:

    We have so many options in our life that we overthink and forget how simple life can be… Thank you for inspiring me

  28. Irina Black says:

    “Атлас ветров” Милорад Павич

  29. aditya says:

    no one payed any attention to people who behaved in exemplary manner, because exmplary behavior was common ! so in away there was nothing exemplary in being good, everyone was, that was the way fo life.

    but such time never was, even when everyone was good, there were few who kept on exploring new heights of goodness and they were exemplary !

    problem with all talks about goodness, helping others etc is that, we all agree and even let out a sigh that we want to be good, buit the moment we are away from the monestary, from the ‘satsang’ ( company of good people ), we revert back to our nomral way of being.

    spekaing of abbots and monestaries, let me share with you one story too : In a monestary in srilanka, the abbot was on his deathbed, and everyone had gathered togather, because the abbot was very famous ( not ordinary ) as a man of wisdom. all disciples were there, others too. abbot said in a weak voice, ” my time is now very short, woever wants to be enlightned, please come near me, i will bless anyone who comes with instnat enlightnement” everyone wanted enlightnement, but was not particularly keen on the spartan lifestyles followed by most enlightned people, so no one came, and abbot moved on to his hevenly abode.

    now change this setting, had the abbot said, i will gramt enlightnement to only first three people who tocu my feat, there would have been a stampede, now ego was in play, first three, first somewhere.

    may one be able to live peacefully, being perfectly ordinary, humble and good !!


  30. Neil says:

    All this will happen – when His Kingdom comes.

  31. Manu Gaurang says:

    Are greed and the 7 sins genetically transferred? tabula rasa is a myth :)

    1. katie says:

      there is a kind of “social inheritance”, too.
      your action today has been influenced by the “philosophy” of your ancestors….
      no dna involved ….
      make a family tree, listen to stories about your grand parents and theirs.
      or, look how you deal, e.g., with anger or fear, and then go and search how they dealt with it and what kind of stories you hear.
      it’s a great adventure & you will learn a lot :o)

    2. Manu Gaurang says:

      enculturation does form attitudes in us. I still insist DNA is involved, if not 100% then 60%.
      Its an endless debate between heredity and Environment.

      We Indians, call the social inheritance as ‘samskaras’ which are transmitted from one generation to the other by means of DNA as well as child rearing practices.

  32. Annie says:

    That would be the ideal world. I wouldn’t mind being nameless in such a world. Everyone would be acting out from the unguarded kindness of their heart instead of the calculating insecurities of their mind.

    1. I like your words. Being human, we are often tempted to act from “the calculating insecurities of our minds.” If we are not careful, this can become a habit!
      Thank you.

  33. True… but I will never forget you!

  34. Den Rod says:

    First of all: have we been noticed.?
    Hi everyone!

    1. Good question! I noticed you WEREN’T here !!!

    2. Alexandra says:

      I did notice you…

    3. Monica says:

      what does that mean Den? I think you have….but who do you want to notice you? Is this really an issue? Is it so important to be noticed?

    4. Den Rod says:

      Sure, this way I can have you speak to me and I’ll have fun.

    5. Alexandra says:

      ha ha ha, well done.

    6. katie says:

      how are the parrots?
      seen any lately?

    7. Den Rod says:

      they’ve been away… probably comming back soon…

  35. Rizal Affif says:

    “May you all be forgotten.” I’ll say this to myself.

    This is great. Thanks, Paulo :)

  36. Black Pearl says:

    Words of wisdom once more:)

  37. Ta Nguyen says:

    This is my first time visit to blog. I’ve notice interesting affiliation union here, though ‘Paulo Coelho’ doesn’t resurface.

    As a Toaist, its known sacred moments are ordinary. It is suggestted that humankind greatest challange not in progress, but rather not doing. For nature can not be made better.