Thursday, August 5, 2010

Buddhist Parable : An Empty Cup

Once there was a university professor who had an extensive background in Zen and Buddhism went to visit with a Zen master to discuss and learn things of a Zen nature from the master.

While they talked, it became clear to the Zen master that the professor considered himself quite knowledgeable on the subject of Zen and Buddhism, going on and on about various related topics. The Zen master listened, and then offered tea. He went to fetch the tea pot and cups and set one before the professor.

The Zen master began pouring tea while the professor continued talking, but when the cup became full to the brim, the Zen master continued pouring. Tea spilled over the edge and all over the table!

"Stop, what are you doing?!" the professor spoke, interrupting himself. "Can't you see that the cup is full?"

"You are like this cup," the Zen master explained. "You are so full of information that nothing more gets in. You came here to discuss Zen, but how can I show you what is Zen if you do not first empty your up?"

The professor thought for a moment and became silent, ready then to receive lessons from the Zen master.

Moral of the story is, we should not be too enamored and trapped by our own ideas and opinions until we disallow new ones to get into us.