Thus spake the master of charcoal: "After three days without fire, life becomes meaningless."


The charcoal masters of old were mysterious and profound. We cannot fathom their thoughts, so all we do is describe their appearance. Hands black as a moonless night. One arm with hair shorter and crispier than the other. Faces with fingerprint-sized smudges. And when they blow their noses, tissues filled with black gobs.

Truly, the tissue holds the essense of the Tao.


A grand master of charcoal once dreamed that he was a charcoal fire. When he awoke he exclaimed:

"I don't know whether I am charcoal dreaming that I am fire, or fire dreaming that I am charcoal!"


One devoid of the Tao from a very large food network television company went to a gathering of charcoal masters and then returned to report to his manager, saying: "What sort of people are these charcoal masters? They behaved badly and were unconcerned with appearances. Their hair was long and unkempt and their clothes were wrinkled and old. They drank beer to and from the crab house and they made rude noises while we cooked."

The manager said: "I should have never sent you to the Waldorf Eggfest. Those charcoal masters live beyond the physical world. They consider life absurd, an accidental coincidence. They build their fires without knowing limitations. Without a care, they live only for food cooked over their charcoal fires. Why should they bother with social conventions?

"They are alive within the Tao."


The ancient masters of charcoal were quick to learn the Yin and Yang of the Tao. The fire that warmed them cooked their food. Such is the Yang of Tao. The smoke and fumes brought death when charcoal was used indoors. Such is the Yin of Tao.

Thus it was that the ancient masters
learned to cook outdoors.


Honest people use no rhetoric; Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured; Culture is not enlightenment.
Content people are not rich; Riches are not contentment.

So the master of charcoal does not serve himself;
The more he does for others, the more he is satisfied;
The more he gives, the more he receives.
Nature flourishes at the expense of no one;
So the master benefits all men and contends with none.

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