At the end of a talk on Buddhism by a well-known master, a Western listener irritably objected. “You kept saying that while our whole life was a life of distinctions, we should be in illusion and suffer.
You quoted all those stories of rich people groaning because they thought themselves very poor, or people standing up to the neck in fresh water and crying out, ‘We’re thirsty!’ All very pathetic. But you contradict yourself, because your words themselves are distinctions. So your very words are part of it all: they are just as illusory as the rest.”
“Yes,” said the preacher, “they’re imitation pearls thrown to people pretending to be beggars. But it makes them feel better, just for a bit. And when they feel better, they might stop groaning and wailing for a moment, and look around at how things really are.”