Stanley, do you notice how much of Buddhism sounds negative even though it isn’t?


Everything is always based on non. Nonexistence, nonthinking, nondoing.

Noneating, Stanley says. I’m getting thinner by the day.

Not according to the straps of your orange vest you’re not. I had to loosen them this morning. And noneating doesn’t refer to starving yourself, just like nondoing doesn’t refer to just lying around. They all refer to not living according to your concepts of things, you know what I mean?

No. Maybe you mean naaneating. I love Indian food.

No, Stanley, I don’t mean naan. It’s like this. I am making salmon today for dinner.

I love salmon!

That’s the point, Stan. You get stuck on the notion of eating salmon. Nonsalmoneating is like taking a bite of something and losing yourself in it, forgetting the notion of eating salmon. You’re taking a bite of the universe, Stan!

But the universe tastes like salmon.

Or turkey or lamb or squash or vinegar or Mexican adobo sauce, depending on circumstances. When we engage in nonsalmoneating, we’re aware that what’s going on isn’t just Stanley eating salmon leftovers, what’s going on is a functioning of the universe that can’t be captured in words, but you miss that, Stanley, because you get so hung up on the difference between salmon and vinegar, say, or salmon and tomato juice.

I hate vinegar and tomato juice!

My point entirely, Stan.

And there IS a difference between salmon and vinegar.

Of course there is, but when we get caught up in those differences we miss the whole picture.

And what’s the whole picture?

Everything is always in the mix, Stanley. When you’re eating salmon, it’s not just the fish but also the water and the plants in the water and the light and the nets and the fishermen and their families and—

Their dogs too?

Their dogs, too—

You mean I’m a cannibal!—

And their cats and the worms and the earth and the grass and the stars—

I’m eating all that?

Exactly right, Stanley! Now you’ve got it. You’re eating all that.

So why am I so hungry all the time?