Entry today is not about food. Instead, it involves a dining instrument and an inspiring story.
Lately there're some internecine feuds going on in my office; and suddenly people are not dining with each other anymore. What a tragedy! The dining table is the last place I want to see people taken to stage their hatred and the game of politics.
All these reminds me a zen story my grandad once told me. It's about Heaven, Hell and chopsticks.
Once upon a time, in a temple nestled in the misty end of south hill, lived a pair of monks. One old and one young.
'What are the differences between Heaven and Hell?' the young monk asked the learned master one day.
'There are no material differences,' replied the old monk peacefully.
'None at all?' asked the confused young monk.
'Yes. Both Heaven and Hell look the same. They all have a dining hall with a big hot pot in the center in which some delicious noodles are boiled, giving off an appetizing scent,' said our old priest. 'The size of the pan and the number of people sitting around the pot are the same in these two places.'
'But oddly, each diner is given a pair of meter-long chopsticks and must use them to eat the noodles. And to eat the noodles, one must hold the chopsticks properly at their ends, no cheating is allowed,' the zen master went on to describe to our young monk.
'In the case of Hell, people are always starved because no matter how hard they try, they fail to get the noodles into their mouths,' said the old priest.
'But isn't it the same happens to the people in Heaven?' the junior questioned.
'No. They can eat because they each feed the person sitting opposite them at the table. You see, that is the difference between Heaven and Hell,' explained the old monk.
The moral of this story is simple: A turn in mind is all the difference between Heaven and Hell lies (一念天堂，一念地獄). Be nice to people and people will be nice to you.