Suppose Alice had been reading a book on American Buddhism before drifting off to sleep on that fateful afternoon. Her exchange with the Cheshire Cat might have gone something like this:

ALICE CAME TO A FORK in the forest path and was standing for a moment, puzzled as to which way to go, when she spied the Cheshire Cat sitting in full lotus position on a bough of a tree a few yards off, meditating. It looked so peaceful that she dared not disturb it, but at the same time it had such a compassionate air that she felt it might help solve her dilemma. So when it opened its eyes, she cleared her voice and said in her sweetest tone, “If you please, Cheshire-Puss, could you tell me the way to the Queen’s croquet game?”

For a moment the Cat only grinned at her, with its eyes bulging out quite alarmingly, but then it simply said, “Which would you rather do? Go to the Queen’s croquet game, or get enlightened?”

Alice did want very much to go to the croquet game, but this was a grown-up sounding question, so she felt it required a grown-up sounding answer. “Oh. To get enlightened, of course,” she said with a knowing air.

The Cat’s eyes bulged out for a moment again, and then it said, “Well, in that case, you won’t get enlightened.”

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