Hungry Ghosts

From Hell to Heaven

There is an ancient Zen scroll that shows heaven and hell. In hell, the hungry ghosts are all sitting at a great banquet table filled with all kinds of delicacies, trying to feed themselves with very long spoons. But no matter how hard they try, they cannot reach their mouths.

In heaven, the hungry ghosts are sitting around the same banquet table. But these hungry spirits are feeding each other with their long spoons, so that they all can eat.


This is the way to transform our world from a hell to a heaven. Only when we offer a portion of our food to our fellow hungry ghosts can we satisfy our own deepest hunger.

— Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, Instructions to the Cook

Note: Hungry ghosts were greedy, miserly and selfish when they were alive. Now they are invisible, but still starving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.