Story Master 4: Thinking Around the Themes of The Gold and the Injured Foot

Here is an unusual picture. Look at the pale thread that runs through all these people. What do you think that is about? Clue: it is connected to a BIG idea in the Eastern religions about life & death….

…read on to find out. The answer is in green text…

This week, we move onto a new story and a new faith! The Gold and the Injured Foot is a Sikh story- from the religion of Sikhism. There will probably be lots of new ideas in this story that you haven’t come across yet, but the story shows these concepts in a powerful way.

The BIG themes in this story are about morals (how we choose how to live and behave), and the CONSEQUENCES of our actions. In the Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism), how we behave in life has consequences. These consequences are called KARMA. Think about it; if you throw something on the floor and don’t bother to pick it up, someone else may come along and fall over it. YOUR action has a CONSEQUENCE. If we do things thoughtfully and carefully, our actions may have wonderful outcomes- like making a cup of tea for someone and receiving a huge smile of thanks from them! If we act in anger, or thoughtlessly, we can hurt other people- like shouting at them to go away, which can hurt their feelings. Your good consequences we might call good karma. The bad consequences, bad karma.

In this story, the two men find out about their karma. They act very differently in the story and cannot figure out why one has good luck and the other has bad luck. It turns out that their KARMA is not just stored up in this lifetime, but in previous lifetimes they have had! How does that work?

Eastern religions have a big idea called REINCARNATION. (You can spot a Christian word in there- incarnation). To incarnate means to be put into a body, or literally into ‘meat’. What gets put into a body? Your soul, or atman. This is your essence, or spirit. Here, your soul never dies. When your body dies at the end of your life, your soul moves on to a new life and a new body. It ‘re’-incarnates. This soul carries with it a record of all the good and bad things you have done in ALL your lifetimes! (Yes, you can have thousands of them!) So in your current life, the karma you bring with you determines what this life will be like.

The two men in the story will find this out…

By the way, the idea of REINCARNATION is shown in the painting at the top of this blog. Each person represents one lifetime. The thread is the soul or atman that reincarnates again and again and again. The soul remains the same but the physical body changes every lifetime...

If you want a re-cap on how Sikhism began, then watch this short video below.

Recap questions to start…

When the assassins attempted to creep up on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the last story, who did they find?

Ali- Muhammad’s young follower

Other than a spider, what else covered the entrance to Muhammad’s cave?

A bird’s nest, a tree branch, a spider’s web and a dove (a kind of bird)

Why did many people in Mecca become angry with Prophet Muhammad?

He told he people to stop worshipping idols (false gods)

In the story of the Widow’s Mite, how much money did the Widow give?

She gave just two coins- but they were all that she had.

From the parable of the Sheep and Goats, what do you need to do to become one of God’s ‘sheep’?

You need to help other people by meeting their needs as you find them. Like giving someone a drink if they are thirsty. Or some money if they have nothing.

What term (word) is used to describe a ‘spiritual teacher’ in Sikhism?

Guru. It literally means one who brings you out of the darkness of not knowing, into the light of knowing!

What do Sikhs (followers of Sikhism) believe will happen when we die? Where do we go?

Our soul or atman will be reincarnated. This means that the spirit in us will go into a new body for a new life. It will be incarnated again.

Someone who begins a religion is called a founder. They found a religion. Who is the founder of Sikhism?

Guru Nanak.

  • I can remember a story that shows how Sikhs think about morals (how we behave)
  • I can begin to understand how the ideas of reincarnation and karma work
  • I can think about how my own behaviour might have an impact on the the world around me!
  • The Story Task Sheet and Ladder Booklet
  • Something to write with – this could be a Word document or Pens/Pencil/Paper
  • Your amazing brain

NEED TO KNOW WORDS & IDEAS TO UNLOCK THE STORY

You’ll find today’s need to know ideas and words at the start of the story sheet below.

Now back to today’s story! Step 1 Let’s start by reading the story text…

Step 2: Now let’s watch a video of this story…

Step 3: Now let’s use our knowledge of the story AND the Thinking Ladder Booklet to complete the Gold and the Injured Foot Task Sheet

  • Click on the links above to find the documents you need
  • REMEMBER: You need to complete ALL of the ‘MUST DO’ questions and ONE of the ladder activities (as high up the ladder as you can!)
  • If you need any more help using the task sheet or booklet, click here to find the topic introduction blog with step-by-step instructions and a How-To video!

This story is quite complex. Here’s a video to pull out the main themes.

Step 4: THE KARMA CHALLENGE

Can you think of times in your own life when your behaviour has made an impact on other people? Or on your environment? Even simple things like keeping your bedroom tidy can have an impact! Now you know about KARMA- the consequences of how we behave- see if you can draw up a karma account for yourself!

Make 2 columns on a piece of paper. One has a BIG PLUS sign for good karma. One side has a MINUS sign for bad karma. Write any good things you have done this day/ week in the PLUS side. Any thing where you feel you might have behaved a bit more kindly on the negative side. If you feel inspired, you could set up an actual karma bank! You need to make 2 boxes (like piggy banks)- could use old cereal packets or loo rolls with the ends sealed up. Make some good and bad karma tokens. You could cut them out of card and colour them in. Or paint beans or dried pasta shapes in 2 colours to show ‘good’ and ‘bad’ karma. When you do something good, add the coloured token to your good karma account box. And the same with behaviours when you feel you could have done better or been kinder. You could even get your family to play too! See how much good karma your family can collect in a week!

You may choose- a bit like our school merit system- that you only collect ‘good’ tokens. Each ‘bad’ karma point takes a good token away. What are you left with at the end of the week?

Examples:

+ doing the washing up after breakfast

+ taking the dog for a walk

+ helping put the shopping away

-shouting at my little brother when I was cross

-eating the last bag of crisps without offering my sister any when I knew she wanted some

-hogging the computer game and not sharing

CHALLENGE: can you have a whole GOOD KARMA day? How hard or easy is that? I’d love to know how you find it…

Finally! Step 5: Checking Understanding

Who were the two friends planning to visit?

Guru Nanak

What was the ‘average friend’ meant to bring with him on this journey?

An offering of money from his household to the Guru

However, each time the two friends made the trip, what persuaded the ‘average man’ to take a different path?

A rather beautiful woman who wanted him to come and drink, gamble and smoke in the bar.

While waiting for his mate the next day, what did the average friend find?

He found a piece of gold and a pot. When he turned over the pot, it was full of pieces of coal. He had been hoping that it would be full of gold!

At the same time, what had happened to the ‘sincere friend’?

He injured his foot on a thorn and hurt himself.

As Guru Nanak explains, why was the ‘sincere friend’ so unfortunate?

In his previous life, this man had been a liar and a thief. He had collected up bad karma for his behaviour. Now, this injury was his karma catching up with him! But it would have been much worse if he had not been living a very holy and wholesome life in this lifetime.

Furthermore, why didn’t the ‘average friend’ find more fortune?

This man had lived a very good life in his previous life. He had been generous and kind. He had brought much good karma into this lifetime. He would have been rewarded by finding a huge pot of gold in this life. However, his recent behaviour- of wasting his time and energy and money on things that are not important- had had bad consequences, or karma, so his reward had been lessened to one piece of gold instead of a whole pot of it!

Why is karma important to Sikhs?

The Karma you build up during your lifetime impacts the quality of your ‘next life’ after reincarnation. Therefore, a Sikh knows to do as many ‘good’ actions as possible so they can be fortunate in their next life.

Last Week’s Heroes

More about religion in the news…

Harry Baker, world slam champion, asks ‘Who is my neighbour?’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05khlqq

This Week’s Extra Happiness Challenge

TAKE A MINUTE: For most of us, it can be easy to rush through life and not notice much. We regularly get lost in our concerns which can lower our mood and make us feel stressed. A really effective way to reduce this is to focus on being mindful. This means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. What emotion am I feeling right now? How does my body feel? What can I see/smell/touch in this moment? Doing this regularly can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.

So, at some point each day, sit down and take a full minute to focus only on your body and all it’s sensations at that moment.