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The Japanese Master and the Tea Cup

Nan-in, a nineteenth-century Japanese master, was visited by an American university professor who wanted to learn about Zen.

While Nan-In was silently preparing tea, the professor was spreading out his own philosophical views.

When the tea was ready, Nan-In began pouring the hot drink into the visitor's cup, slowly.

The man was still talking.

And Nan-In continued to pour the tea until the cup overflowed.

Alarmed at the sight of tea spilling over the table, ruining the tea ceremony, the professor exclaimed, "But the cup is full! ...

It will not contain more!

Quietly, Nan-In replied, "You are like this cup, already full of beliefs and preconceived ideas.

How could I tell you about Zen? To be able to learn, start by emptying your cup!