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Saturday October 22, 2016
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The Zen of Marshmallows



For the past fifteen years, I have helped to organize a huge benefit yard sale for the Zen Buddhist Temple of Ann Arbor. The sale is held on Labor Day weekend (this year, Sept. 5-7) and is geared towards returning university students looking to outfit their apartments. Many of us who belong to the temple use the yard sale as an opportunity to sift through our things to determine what is integral to our lives and what is expendable. This is, in fact, one of the advantages of the meditative path; the further we go, the more we realize how little we really do need. With the yard sale, we can support a worthy cause while unloading the vast excesses from our lives.

Last fall, we decided to do a bit of clutter gleaning in our basement. Needless to say, the three-pronged, battery-operated, rotating marshmallow roaster made its way to the sale. It soon became a big hit--as well as the butt of many a joke as I and a group of hardworking volunteers labored tirelessly to get the sale off the ground.

"Thank God for this," said one eager volunteer, eyeing the specimen. "Who knows what kind of carpal tunnel trouble awaits someone who would roast a marshmallow by hand?"

"Oh, but wait," said another. "I don't think the university students who would buy this thing would have roasting marshmallows in mind, do you? Come on, a long spinning thing with prongs?"

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