The Difference Between Heaven and Hell

I’m at the Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference in Atlanta. This morning Peter Couchman from the Midcounties Co-operative in England (near Oxford) presented a (probably well-known) parable during his keynote address. I paraphrase:
There once was a highly developed Buddhist guru who had the ability to transport himself to any place in the universe. He decided to investigate Hell. Upon arrival he found a lush green valley with perfect moderate temperatures, beautiful flowers, clear sparkling water, and snow-covered mountains. In the middle of the valley there was a large table with every known delicious food available. But the people at the table were moaning and screaming in agony. All they had to eat with were six-foot chopsticks, and no matter how hard they tried, no matter what technique they used, they couldn’t get the food into their mouths and it was driving them insane.
The guru decided to visit Heaven. When he arrived he found a scene much like the first. A beautiful valley, green and lush, with flowers, trees, and plants of all varieties. In addition, there was a similar table piled high with fantastic food from all over the world. The people gathered at the table were happy and joyful, laughing and talking. They had the same six-foot chopsticks to eat with, but instead of trying to feed themselves, they used the chopsticks to feed each other.