Drudgery makes a mockery of mankind's natural enthusiasm for life. The boy becomes a bent old man; the girl becomes a weathered crone; the fresh pasta is ground down to paste. Paste makes a fool of the child. It never fulfills its purpose. It smears.

The koan: "Everything Is Best"

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.

"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.

"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

The enlightenment: "Everything... is... best," whispered Banzan, gazing off into the distance. The butcher overheard him.

"Not everything," the butcher clarified. "Just this meat here. It's all the same."

At these words Banzan said, "Shit."

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." A hook that curves to the highway.

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