The Baby's Flesh
(as told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh)

A young couple and their two-year-old child were trying to cross the desert, and they ran out of food. After deep relection, they realized that in order to survive they had to kill their son and eat his flesh. They calculated that if they ate such and such a proportion of their baby's flesh and carried the rest on their shoulder to dry, it would last the rest of their journey. But with every morsel of their baby's flesh they ate, the young couple cried and cried. After he told this story, the Buddha asked, "Dear friends, do you think the young couple enjoyed eating their son's flesh?" "No, Lord, it would not be possible for them to enjoy eating their son's flesh." The Buddha said, "Yet many people eat the flesh of their parents, their children, and their grandchildren and do not know it."