Zen and the art of the over-full teacup

by Lee Hopkins on June 17, 2007 · 0 comments

in miscellaneous

Image of stones copyright Gastonmag - http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Gastonmag

A Japanese master received a university professor who came to enquire about Zen. The master served tea. He poured the professor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s over-full! No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” said the master, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

This tale illustrates to me the importance of never thinking you know it all. Sometimes, we have to take the back seat and let somebody instruct us. Sometimes, we have to stop comparing everything with what we KNOW and look at things anew — with a fresh and clean palate. How else can we grow?

Clear your mind and look at the things around you. Take nothing for granted. Empty your cup!


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