Here’s a Philosophy Joke: Confucius and the Buddha Meet for Dinner at Chili’s.

by David Kennedy Bird

“So Confucius and the Buddha, they go into a Chili’s, see….”

Confucius is dressed in normal contemporary attire, with a nondescript haircut and his beard shaved off — you know, so as to fit into his social surroundings. He’s like that.

The Buddha is dressed… like the Buddha.

They are seated quickly and begin looking at their menus.  The waiter comes to their table.  “Hi, i’m Martin and i’ll be your server. What can i start you guys out with?”

Buddha:  The self is an illusion. To say ‘i’ is to be mistaken.

Martin the Server:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Confucius:  Uh, Martin, it looks like i’ll be ordering for both of us.

Martin the Server:  What’s with the Dalai Lama over here?

Confucius:  He’s kind of hard to explain.

Martin the Server:   O… Kay.  So can i get you guys something to drink? Water?

Buddha:  True Mind flows out of emptiness, like the water flowing out of the spring.

Confucius:  [To the Buddha] Not now, dude!  Sorry, Martin. Water will be fine.

Martin the Server:  [Skitters off, shaking his head]

Confucius:  Sid, you’re gonna need to tone it down. Not everyone’s likely to get you in a place like this.

Buddha:  To have one’s senses ensnared by time and place is to be far from enlightenment.

Confucius:  Sure, okay. Fine. Look at your menu and decide what you want.

Buddha:  It is our cravings that separate us from the knowledge of the Way.

Confucius:  One more comment like that, and so help me….

Buddha:  Sorry. I was not exercising self-restraint. And self-restraint, as you know….

Confucius:  Stop. Stop it now.

Buddha:  Oops. Sorry.

Martin the Server:  Your waters, gentlemen. Here’s yours [to Confucius], with lemon, and here’s yours [to the Buddha]. I added some True Mind to yours.

Buddha:  [looking down into glass]  No, you didn’t!

Confucius:  I’m glad you resisted the impulse to leave it empty.

Martin the Server:  Clever, sir. I wish i’d thought of that. Okay, so i’ll let you fellows look at your menus for a couple more minutes.  [He takes off]

Confucius:  He’s a good kid.

Buddha:  Reminds me of one of my monks, about 1500 years ago. He was always….

Confucius:  Just look at the menu.

Buddha:  Right.

Confucius:  They have a ‘healthy’ section. There appear to be vegetarian options.

Buddha:  Yum!  Er, i meant to say, you do me a disservice, stirring up my fleshly cravings.

Confucius:  Whatever. Mmm. Let’s see, the Cobb salad’s lookin’ mighty good.

Martin the Server:  [returns to table] Okay, you guys ready?

Buddha:  To rest in stillness and silence: This is the way of…

Confucius:  Ignore him. I’ll have the Cobb Salad, and he’ll have one lettuce leaf with nothing on it that might even remotely introduce flavor or pleasure.

Buddha:  Wait. That’s not what i want. I’ve decided what i want.

Martin the Server:   . . . ? . . .

Buddha:  Make Me One With Everything.

Martin the Server:   . . . ? . . .

Confucius:  I was SO hoping you wouldn’t say that.

Martin the Server:   . . . ? . . .

Confucius:  [to Martin the Server]  He always says that, and he always thinks it’s funny.