Zen and empty cups

Zen story 1:

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 story 2 (excerpt only):

If I am holding a cup of water and I ask you, “is the cup empty?” you will say “No, it is full of water.” But if i pour out the water and I ask you again, you may say, “yes, it is empty.” but, empty of what?…. My cup is empty of water, but it is not empty of air. To be empty is to be empty of something….. Form is empty of a separate self, but it is full of everything else in the cosmos.

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