My lay supporter this morning related a reply given by Ajahn Chah to one of his disciples, who asked why it was necessary to perform alms-giving, paying homage, and other meritorious deeds — why not just practice meditation?
Ajahn Chah asked him if he bought bananas when he went to the market, he replied that he did.
The Ajahn then asked him if he bought them with the skins on, or without the skins. He replied that he bought them with the skins on.
He asked if he brought them back from the market with the skins on, or discarded the skins at the market and just brought home the flesh. He replied that he brought the bananas home with their skins on.
Ajahn Chah then asked whether he ate the bananas and their skins, or just ate the flesh. He replied that he ate the flesh, and discarded the skins.