04 August 2022

Cup of tea: a lesson in learning

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), received a university professor who came to enquire 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?’

-- Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, p.17


It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows
  -- Epictetus

Other koans: https://avocastreet.com/koans/Shaseki.pdf

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