Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

I first heard this story from Kyoshi Joslin. It is a very common Zen story and it is often told in class. There is value in emptying our cup, both in the dojo and out.

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?”

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