Subscribe: RSS | EMAIL


Is Your Cup Empty? – A Zen Koan

Category: Very Short Stories

Zen Koan
Photo Courtesy of Dark Patator

Koan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement in the history and lore of Zen Buddhism. “A Cup Of Tea” is a well known Koan from “101 Zen Stories” – a 1919 compilation of Zen koans including 19th and early 20th century anecdotes, and Collection of Stone and Sand, written in the 13th century by Japanese Zen master Muju.

A Cup Of Tea

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?”

Books On Koan:

Be Sociable, Share!

Reader's Comments

  1. Bamboo Forest | July 11th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    This is a great story, one I enjoy. “The Forbbiden Kingdom” movie reenacts this story, in its own way. Very cool.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Be Embarrassed about Nothing

    Reply to this comment
  2. Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Map | July 12th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Oh my…love the story that you just shared! It may be short but it is full of meaning!

    Thanks! Stumbling this post as the best I’ve read so far the whole morning!

    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..Draw Inspiration From Never-Give-Up Success Stories

    Reply to this comment
  3. Marelisa | July 12th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I like how you explain at the beginning what a koan is. I had heard this anecdote before–and I love it–but I didn’t know that it was called a koan.

    Marelisas last blog post..Create a Long List of Ways for You to Feel Good

    Reply to this comment
  4. Avani-Mehta | July 12th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Hi Bamboo,

    Forbidden Kingdom is on my list since a long time. I guess I will see it this weekend.

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thanks. That’s how Koans are.

    Hi Marelisa,
    I too had read this kind of story before while reading ‘Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. Came to know it’s a Koan while researching the story online.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work | July 13th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    This story does make me reflect on what I may need to let go of. Creating a vacuum is a wonderful lesson.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..A New Way to Find Work that You Love

    Reply to this comment
  6. Barbara Swafford | July 14th, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Hi Avani,

    I love the photo and the short story. So well said.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

    Reply to this comment
  7. Avani-Mehta | July 14th, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Hi Tom,
    I agree.

    Hi Barbaba,
    :) Me too.

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Is Your Cup Empty? – A Zen Koan

    Reply to this comment
  8. babyturtlefilms | August 31st, 2008 at 5:44 am

    this zen story is animated here:

    http://babyturtlefilms.blogspot.com/2008/08/art-of-zen-episode-1-new-pupil-click.html

    Reply to this comment

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] “Empty your mind of prejudices,or else it will be too full to take in anything new”. […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Subscribe via RSS or Email

Free E-Book

The Fabulous Motivators Is Your Cup Empty? – A Zen Koan
Download E-Book
Featured in Alltop

Reader's Favorites

Beginner’s Guide To Being Decisive

A valuable guide for those wishing to become decisive. Read about what steps you can take right now and when you get stopped in the process of becoming decisive.

Cheat Codes To Have A Happy Marriage

Creative ideas which can lead you to happy marriage – simple yet effective – just like cheat codes.

How Fart Can Make You Grow Spiritually – Su Dongpo’s Story

A hilarious incident from Su Dongpo’s life which became a turning point for him in spiritual development.

Living Life Child Like

How to become child-like and experience the wonders of childhood in our day to day life

How To Pick Your First Anger Management Area

The question to ask yourself is – What is the easiest option I can work upon, what is the most comfortable of all.

Hold On To Your Dreams

Dream all you can and all you want to. For only those who have dreams can have their dreams come true. Reach out toward your dreams and walk toward them. For only those who act on their dreams can have their dreams come true.

I Am The Power

Let there be darkness
Let there be storms
My mind is made up
I am going on …

The Outrageous Dreamers – 10 Fabulous Motivators That Inspire You To Take Action Part V

The outrageous dreamers are all about finding such goals – goals which inspire and motivate you, which challenge you and stretch you. If you want to create momentum and bring on tremendous progress in an area which you are struggling with, set an outrageous aim. Aim something beyond your capabilities, something you would love to achieve but don’t know is possible, aim for the moon and see what happens. The outrageous goals are really as outrageous as aiming for the moon.

Leap & Fly …

So leap in, jump in … go achieve your dream. And have faith that you will figure things out along the way. Have faith that when you jump, wings will appear. And where there are no wings, you will be their creator. But wings you will have. And so as long as you don’t let go of your dream … you will reach there.


Grid Focus by Derek Punsalan 5thirtyone.com