A Cup of Zen

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Short Stories
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One day, a scholar went to see a Zen monk named Nanin to inquire about Zen. Nanin treated his guest to a cup of tea. He poured the tea into a cup, and when the cup was full, he kept right on pouring…

The scholar observed the overflowing tea bowl, until he could no longer contain himself.

“Master, that’s enough! It’s full!”

“You are just like this cup – full of your own thoughts and ideas,” said Nanin, “If you don’t first empty yourself, how can I teach you about Zen?”


If your mind is filled with your own prejudices, the truth that others speak cannot be heard. When engaging in conversation, most people are in a hurry to express their own opinion, and as a result, they don’t hear anything but the sound of their own voice.


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