Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thai Mushroom Soup, Sort Of

I found galangal at the Food Coop! This Southeast Asian relative of ginger is a common ingredient in Thai cooking. My neighbor who lives in Bangkok sent me a simple recipe for mushroom soup. Now that i have galangal, i have to find substitutes for everything else.

Instead of lemongrass, i use lemon balm from my herb garden. Instead of shallots, i use onions. Instead of straw and oyster mushrooms, i use regular button mushrooms from the fridge. I use chicken broth instead of vegetable stock. There is no substitute for kaffir lime leaves, and i leave out the chiles.

This concoction probably would not pass the palate test of an authentic Thai, but i don't know any better, and the soup tastes delicious to me.

Some of us doctor our spiritual path. We follow our own hearts and minds. We adopt a philosophy that makes sense to us, and discard the teachings that we just can't believe. Pretty soon, we have a spiritual soup, which feels good and may even "taste" good.

But just how successful are we at doctoring ourselves? Is our doctored-up path going to take us where we, in our heart of hearts, want to go?

The Buddha offered a stiff prescription:
The diagnosis:                       
     Life includes stress and suffering.
                  (The First Ennobling Truth)
The etiology of the dis-ease:
                 (The Second Ennobling Truth)
The prognosis for our case:
     Cessation. Liberation is possible.
                 (The Third Ennobling Truth)
The remedy, the Rx:              
     The Noble 8-fold Path.
                 (The Fourth Ennobling Truth)

Shall we follow the Buddha's Rx? Or our own recipe?
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