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Apr 10
Arts and Poetry, ~Linked Items
Leo Tolstoi’s Instructions on How To Rule Your Kingdom

For Children’s Day in December at the Baltimore Shambhala Center we adapted a story story by Leo Tolstoi called the Three Questions into a short play. It was performed by sangha adults but included the children in the audience as the subjects of the new king and queen who were learning how to rule their kingdom. The ‘subjects’ got to make suggestions to the new king and queen and at the end of the play, the children were instructed in how to rule their kingdom at home, even if it was just their bedroom and the toys in it or the family pets. Everyone took home a paper crown as a reminder and a copy of the three questions and answers.

This short story was written by Tolstoi near the end of his life. In middle life he had become very disenchanted with the world and all the success he had had. He inherited money, land, and serfs, and despite a wife and 13 children and much reknown as an author, he was ready to commit suicide. Instead he read all the world philosophies, then the world religions and finally retranslated the Gospels of Christ from the original Greek leaving out Christ’s divinity and miracles.  He then tried to live by Christ’s instructions until his death.

His religious writings inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King. This story about how a king should rule his kingdom came from that later period. It is very Shambhalian. You can find the short story online or e-mail me at [email protected] for a copy of the play.

All photos by Katie Calkins

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