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916When an Empty Cup is Better than a Full One

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  • NamoAmituofo
    Mar 1, 2006
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      When an Empty Cup is Better than a Full One

      To assume is to think one knows; to master is to experience and thus know. - stonepeace

      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?"

      - Zen Flesh Zen Bones (Paul Reps)
      Comments : This applies not just to sincere open-hearted and open-minded learning of Zen or other traditons of Buddhism, but to everything else too. A common mistake of Buddhists is to assume one already knows enough about a "foreign" aspect of the Buddhist teachings (such as a teaching from another Buddhist tradition), thereby placing an unfair judgement upon it. This impedes personal learning straightaway.

      - Shen Shi'an