Educational Stories: Zen and A Cup of Tea

A short educational story that teaches a lesson about the importance of being open-minded.


The teacher Nan-in had a visitor who came to inquire about Zen. But instead of listening, the visitor kept talking about his own ideas.

After a while, Nan-in served tea. He poured tea into his visitor's cup until it was full, then he kept on pouring.

Finally the visitor could restrain himself no longer. "Don't you see it's full?" he said. "You can't get any more in!"

"That's true," replied Nan-in, stopping at last. "And like this cup, you are filled with your own ideas. How can you expect me to give you Zen unless you offer me an empty cup?"

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