Tuesday, April 28, 2009



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 Koan

I suspect, too, the economy of gifting is like this: emptying out our pockets, pouring out our hearts, making way for more.

1 comment:

mrtn said...

There's another famous one in which a zen master asks another during a tea ceremony to tell him what the Buddha nature is. The other master, in reply, smashes the cup.

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