A famous Zen monk was at a Bonenkai (lit. forget-the-year party) dinner hosted by a rich nobleman. The who’s who of the city mingling with each other painted an intimidating color to the party for any casual observer. Stunning geishas, premium sake, wafts of fragrances coursing through the hall and a lavish spread of food drove the five senses to sheer indulgence.

“I don’t mean to offend you, master.” An aristocrat approached the Zen monk with deference and said, “But, can I ask you a question?”
The monk raised his hand a li...