Dining Out with the Buddha

Hanging out with my friend God in Central Park, he told me about a meeting he’d had with the Buddha.

As we were sitting on our favorite bench in Central Park, God said he’d forgotten to tell me about a second meeting he’d had with the Buddha, one that occurred only a few days before he first met me.

Buddha to be
Buddha-to-be in a previous life. By Hintha, CC BY-SA 3.0.

“I assume that meeting took place in Manhattan,” I said. “What brought that famous karmic guy here?”

“He was visiting his daughter Tara, who had just opened a Zen retreat in the Village. He contacted me and offered to take me out to dinner as a reward for my disentangling him from the abstruse yoga position I mentioned to you. Of course, I accepted his offer.”

“What sort of restaurant did you go to? An Asian fusion place?”

“It’s a place called Gautama Grub that supposedly gives its diners a Buddhistic experience. A perfect place for us, I thought.

“Well, not exactly, as it turned out,” God continued. “The restaurant had no chairs, so in a Buddhistic manner, we were obliged to squat on the floor. We ended up squatting for quite a long time, waiting for a waiter. At last one arrived. ‘Sorry, but I’ve been enlightening myself by practicing some really deep meditation,’ he said. ‘What sort of organic vegan dish can I get for you?’ We ordered a dish called Kung Fu tofu, then waited an hour or so for it to come. ‘I’ve always believed time is a waste of time, but this is getting ridiculous,’ the Buddha told me.”

“But the Kung Fu tofu finally arrived?”

“It did, and the waiter tossed it in our faces, along with several spoonfuls of our green tea. ‘One must accept suffering,’ he told us. ‘What I’ve just done will help you deal with the hassles of life.’”

“That wasn’t a very nice thing for him to do.”

“I thought about dropkicking the fellow into New Jersey or perhaps turning him into some Kung Fu tofu, but I decided not to, since I figured my companion might not have appreciated it,” God said.

“I wonder if the food was any good.”

“We had to scoop it off our faces and our clothes with our hands because we weren’t given any cutlery or chopsticks. All I can say about it is, well, some of it tasted a lot like my beard.”

“Did you have any other Buddhistic experience at the place?”

“After we finished eating only a small portion of our meal, we went over to the cashier, and the Buddha handed him a $50 bill. The cashier took the bill and walked away. ‘Wait a minute, where’s my change?’ the Buddha asked. ‘Change must come from within,’ the fellow replied. And walked away again.”

“So how did the Buddha deal with this unusual act?”

“He turned to me and said, ‘Let’s go to a McDonald’s.’”

Part of a series detailing Lawrence Millman’s experiences with his drinking buddy, God. Soon to be gathered together, assuming a publisher is interested, as a mini-memoir entitled “Drinks With God.”

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