I asked David the other day if there was a chapter on tolerance and he said no, but that there are many that include the idea of tolerance.

Tolerance, love, forgiveness and mercy seem to be in short supply all over the world, so I thought that it would be great to have a better understanding of what is needed for folks to get along together.

So I began to think of which of the 33 principles in David’s book that unite the world’s religions are related to the idea of tolerance.

Tolerance, is defined as a capacity for enduring and also as a lack of opposition for beliefs or practices differing from one’s own.

With all of the tension on the planet now, it seems that if we are to get along with others and remain loving in our interactions we all need to be kind, wise and tolerant.

Chapter 26 is the principle of Loving Speech and Kindness.

In the chapter seven of the Bhagavad Gita Lord  Krishna says to his disciple, Arjuna: “Words that cause no woe, words always true, gentle and pleasing words–these mark the true religious speech.”

In the Tao teh Ching, chapter eight, the wise sage, Lao Tzu declares: “In dealing with others know how to be gentle and kind.  In speaking, know how to keep your words.”

Saint Paul the great Christian apostle admonishes his followers in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you…and be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

From the Hadith of Bukhari, teachings of Muhammad: ” A wise man once asked the Prophet what was the best thing in Islam, and the latter replied: “It is to feed the hungry and to give the greeting of peace both to those one knows and to those one does not know.”

 

Here is a little story about tolerance and love.

David and I were in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates in August 2008.  We had a layover of several hours, and we decided to leave the airport with another passenger that we met on the flight.  Our new friend was a Jewish attorney who was traveling on to Nepal, as we were.  She was going to work for an NGO, or non-government organization, in Kathmandu that helps empower poor women.

So the three of us set out in the  blazing heat in a taxi looking for breakfast.  We had decided to go to the world’s only seven star hotel to marvel at the marble ,the incredible architecture and the golden fixtures.

We arrived at the very impressive hotel, that resembled a mini-palace. It was on lovely green grounds with palm trees, sweeping lawns and exotic flowers everywhere. The hotel is situated directly on the Persian Gulf, and is a resort for the wealthy.

Breakfast didn’t pan out there, as it would have cost us each about $90.00, and that made us lose our appetites!  But we did wash up in their marble bathrooms with gold faucets before we left, so all was not lost.  We also took photographs in the multi-story lobby with a huge domed ceiling.

So, getting hungrier and hungrier we hopped into another taxi and headed for an area where we were told there was a restaurant that served fish. We asked to be dropped off when we arrived there, but all that was there was a huge open market with fish of every kind and description. There was no restaurants at all, just fish mongers in rubber boots and tons of raw fish in all sorts of glass cases and tanks, and a few men sitting around smoking and watching TV.

By this time, hungry, tired, and very hot we realized that we were not getting across our English to the taxi drivers or anyone else for that matter.

The only word I can ever remember in Arabic is “Inshalla”, meaning “whatever God wills”.  It is a great word to know, but it doesn’t cover everything you need to convey to get where you need to go!

After the fish market debacle, we struck out on foot with our carry-on luggage, me in the lead, determined to find food. The heat was oppressive and the humidity was overwhelming.

We were lost in Abu Dhabi, with no driver, no way to communicate, very hot and hungry, and in danger of sun stroke.

We walked about 2 or 3 blocks and found a restaurant, thank God. It did not appear to be open, but I knocked on the door over and over.  The owner finally appeared and let us in, and I told him that I was going to get sun stroke if I couldn’t get out of the heat.

The dear man, who I will never forget , led us all into his cool restaurant, and gave us something to drink. He told us all that as we had come to him for help that he was bound to help us as his religious duty. He was a Palestinian business-man who had worked in different parts of the Middle East, and had been kicked out of Saudi Arabia after many years in business there with only the clothes on his back. There was apparently a purge of some Palestinians in Arabia a couple of decades ago.

Our new friend showed us around his gorgeous restaurant, and we saw the absolutely beautiful dining room that was reserved for wealthy Muslim men.  There was a table that sat at least 20, with lovely goblets and plates of gold at each setting. The decor was serene, with potted plants, subdued lighting, and best of all air conditioning! Our gracious host let me absorb the beauty of the middle Eastern culture that I now realize few western women will ever see.  I felt like I was looking at something out of “The Tales of  the Arabian Nights”.

Since we had arrived in a condition of semi-helplessness, our very good host told us that he would take us out to a restaurant close by for breakfast. This man will forever be my hero as he didn’t have to help us at all.

We all piled into his little car with our carry-on luggage still in tow, and he drove us five minutes to an open restaurant that served breakfast.

Our host didn’t eat, but he paid for breakfast for all of us, and would not accept our money.  As we conversed over our food, our host came to realize that in addition to two Christians, he was also entertaining a Jewess. None of this seemed to bother him in the least, and he loved us and served us as Christ would have.

After eating our fill, and relaxing with our new friend, our host ordered a taxi for us.  We were going back to the airport, our safety zone, where many people spoke passable English.  The generous man gave me his business card with e-mail and phone numbers, but I have never been able to reach him to tell him how grateful we are. God Bless you dear friend, and all your family, too.

He is truly a good Samaritan  who loves all humanity.