The Hungry Man


A Zen master was walking a dusty road, contemplating inner peace, when he happened upon a man clearly in the grip of death due to starvation.

“My friend,” the master said, “Tell me of your plight.”

“I am so hungry,” the man said from the ground where he lay, “I . . . want . . . food.”

The Zen master knelt down in the dirt, picked up a long stick and carefully scratched out the words “I. Want. Food.”

“First,” said the Zen master, “Remove the word ‘I’ for ‘I’ is ego and ego is not necessary. Then, remove ‘want’ for ‘want’ is desire and desire leads to dissatisfaction. Now, what are you left with?”

The starving man looked at the ground.

“F-food?” he managed to stammer out.

“Yes!” said the Zen master, “You are left with all the food you need. I’m glad I could help.”

And the Zen master walked away.

“But,” said the dying man, “I can’t eat that food.”

“I’M GLAD I COULD HELP!” the Zen master screamed over his shoulder. Then he reached into his bag and pulled out an incredibly long submarine sandwich which he ate in a series on comically large bites before licking his fingers noisily and burping.

Later, the Zen master realized that what he had done had been kind of a dick move and he returned to the dying man, but all he found was gray bones on the ground.

“I guess he found something to eat after all,” thought the Zen master, “What with all these bones.”

Then he pulled out another sandwich and sat down and ate it. So many sandwiches! Where does he find them?!

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