Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Pleasure and the tongue

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

A Zen master was resting with one of his disciples. At one point, he took a melon out of his bag and cut it in two so that both could eat it.

While they were eating, the disciple said:

‘Wise master, since everything you do has a meaning, perhaps your sharing this melon with me is a sign that you have something to teach me.’

The master continued eating in silence.

‘Your silence obviously conceals a question,’ the disciple insisted, ‘and it must be this: does the pleasure I am experiencing in eating this delicious fruit reside in the melon or in my tongue?’

The master said nothing. The disciple went on excitedly:

‘And since everything in life has meaning, I think I am close to finding the answer to that question: the pleasure is an act of love and interdependence between us, because without the melon there would be no object of pleasure and without my tongue…’

‘That’s enough!’ said the master. ‘The real fools are those who think themselves terribly intelligent and spend all their time trying to interpret everything. The melon is delicious, and that’s enough, now let me eat in peace!’

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