“There once was a highly developed Buddhist guru who had the ability to transport himself to any place in the universe. He decided to investigate Hell. Upon arrival he found a lush green valley with perfect moderate temperatures, beautiful flowers, clear sparkling water, and snow-covered mountains. In the middle of the valley there was a large table with every known delicious food available. But the people at the table were moaning and screaming in agony. All they had to eat with were six-foot chopsticks, and no matter how hard they tried, no matter what technique they used, they couldn’t get the food into their mouths and it was driving them insane.
The guru decided to visit Heaven. When he arrived he found a scene much like the first. A beautiful valley, green and lush, with flowers, trees, and plants of all varieties. In addition, there was a similar table piled high with fantastic food from all over the world. The people gathered at the table were happy and joyful, laughing and talking. They had the same six-foot chopsticks to eat with, but instead of trying to feed themselves, they used the chopsticks to feed each other.”
~From the movie: ‘The Wisdom of Crocodiles’.
A Visit to Heaven and Hell<p> </p>I once heard a story about a visit to heaven and hell. In both places the visitor saw many people seated at a table on which many delicious foods were laid out. In both places chopsticks over a meter long were tied to their right hands, while their left hands were tied to their chairs.<p> </p>In hell, however much they stretched out their arms, the chopsticks were too long for them to get food into their mouths. They grew impatient and got their hands and chopsticks tangled with one another’s. The delicacies were scattered here and there.<p> </p>In heaven, on the other hand, people happily used the long chopsticks to pick out someone else’s favorite food and feed it to him, and in turn they were being fed by others. They all enjoyed their meal in harmony.
~Shundo Aoyama, Zen Seeds