Sunday, 9 November 2008

This is... my favourite quote

I picked this quote up a while ago while reading a translation of Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings. It was mentioned in the introduction and it has stuck with me ever since:

"Empty your cup"

There's a little zen story that goes with it too:
A professor went to visit a famous Zen master, Nan-in, to learn about Zen. As Nan-in quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master filled the visitor's cup to the brim and then let it keep pouring until it was spilling all over the floor. The professor watched the overflowing cup and cried "What are you doing? It's overfull! No more will go in!". "You are like this cup," the Nan-in replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

There are many lessons to be learned from this short story, and I try to keep it in my mind all the time. Be it with my PhD or karate, when I meet new people or cooking or gardening. This quote really struck a chord with me because so often I get tunnel visioned or stuck and so caught up in my own ideas and preconceptions that I can never see another side and I've found that reminding myself to "empty my cup" is incredibly useful for overcoming these things.

Photo by ~Lε@H

Thanks to Strawberry Kisses for this week's topic, and Three buttons for hosting this is...!


Taccolina said...

What a lovely, unexpected little story. Thanks. (She peers nto her coffee cup...) Looks like I'm getting there!

Hoppo Bumpo said...

I have been meaning to read the Book of Five Rings. I love this quote - what a wonderful principle to live by.

Melanie said...

simple yet profound

three buttons said...

What a beautiful and meaningful story. It's so hard to empty your cup sometimes.

I hope you don't mind but I have nominated you to choose our This Is theme for this week!

Angela xx