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How do I empty my cup?

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

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

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joe the man
joe the man
9 years ago

in this case, all you have to do is put your opinions and knowlege aside when you come to listen. forget about trying to make yourself be all clever and smart, but rather be humble and think that the person in front of you has all the information you need. don’t ask questions that are meant to show off your knowledge, just ones that help you understand. when you do that, you don’t empty your cup bur rather turn it into a cup with an endless capacity. you can even mix tea, coffee, juice and coca cola in it, and… Read more »

Adwait
Adwait
9 years ago

Thank you for your appreciation and reminding me now.
Emptying a cup ? Simple, just throw out.
The taste of pudding is on its eating.
If you cup is full of tea and if you want coffee
why don’t you just throw out and fill with coffee.
How can you live with only one cup.
If it is broken, will you have it from the ground-pit.

☼ GÆ–Æ¡ÏŽ ✞ Ñ ÉªÎ·Ê s ☼
☼ GÆ–Æ¡ÏŽ ✞ Ñ ÉªÎ·Ê s ☼
9 years ago

This is “So Good”! And… True!
Wise words to follow…

Purdey EP
Purdey EP
9 years ago

I think it is quite hard because you have to throw away so much of what you have learned and what is essentially a part of you. I think if you try to imagine your mind as a blank slate, it might help. I’ve imagined black or purple space. I know it sounds odd, but it sometimes works.

Merry Prankster
Merry Prankster
9 years ago

a while ago i would have advocated a dose of psilocybin to clear the mind, and open the third eye…

today, i still would : )

Anthony F
Anthony F
9 years ago

In otherwords, abandon all thought and accept everything with blind acceptance.

And how does this differ from every other religion??? That’s what I like about science: it doesn’t ask you to do that, but expects the opposite.

arthvader
arthvader
9 years ago

I would have found a suitable vessel, poured my tea out into it, and then received the offered tea. Then, after finding out its merits I could compare it to my original tea and decide for myself which was better.

In other words, you can accept new things provisionally, pending verification. You don’t have to toss out the old; just have an open mind.

Eclectic Heretic
Eclectic Heretic
9 years ago

Very interesting teaching. Zen is great for that. You must become open to listening. We are all full of ourselves (me included) and it is hard for us to focus on something without wanting to jump in with our own thoughts. Hard, but it can be done when we are aware that we are doing it. So we need to be conscious of what we are doing. Living in the moment. And only in the moment. Try it. Ain’t easy. And we may never be perfect, but if we try, if we focus on the here and now and are… Read more »

Lon
Lon
9 years ago

Dump it out the window or on some thirsty homeless guy.The latter will bring you good karma grasshopper.

Rev. TomCat
Rev. TomCat
9 years ago

You must first pour some out to others before you can have some added to your cup again.
Rev. TomCat

Arthur Again
Arthur Again
9 years ago

Sounds like a typical cult leader.

cadisneygirl
cadisneygirl
9 years ago

It is really hard.

Ironically, I believe the best way to empty your cup is to fill it with as much knowledge as you possibly can.

The more you learn, experience and are exposed to then the more open you tend to be become or at least you have a greater ability to make sure that the things you already believe in or accept are what you truly believe in for the right reasons.

Life is a pain but still love it
Life is a pain but still love it
9 years ago

I want a professor like that in my life!

Mavis
Mavis
9 years ago

Tea rules.

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