Thursday, November 30, 2006

An Introduction to Zen

The University Professor came to the door of the Zen Master at the appointed time and knocked on the door. The Master opened the door and invited the Professor in. The Professor said, "I have come to learn Zen from you!"

"May I get you some tea?" asked the Master, showing the Professor into his den and offering him a seat. "Yes, thank you, I'd appreciate that," said the Professor.

The Master returned with a large teapot and a cup, which he set in front of the professor on the table. Then, the Master poured the tea from the teapot into the cup, and continued pouring the tea as the cup filled and then ran over the side onto the table, and then onto the floor. The Master continued pouring the tea. The Professor could tolerate no more, and jumped up yelling, "STOP, the cup is overfull, the tea is pouring all over the floor." The Master put the teapot down, and said to the Professor, "Just as with the teacup, before i can teach you anything about Zen, you must first empty your mind of all of your preconceived thoughts and notions."

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Any thoughts?

19 comments:

MJ said...

So deep... Had to read it 3 times.. What if the master was just being an ass?? then what ??

Alison said...

Laughing at mj's comment...

I don't have any thoughts (I still haven't found my brain), but it makes for a great story.

Claudia said...

dude...wasn't the teacup empty to start with? And if not, why was he serving tea in a cup that already had crap in it?

Christine said...

i agree with MJ. he was probably just being a bastard.

Pickled Olives said...

Hey, if it's not my floor to clean, pour away master Zen Yoda!

The CEO said...

I haven't had this much fun with Zen since I made a Broadway song out of one of the pieces. Drove a guy I know nuts.

Lee said...

I think zen is tough. In our world of insanity, emptying your mind is sometimes an impossible feat. I personally relate to the Mahayana/Tibetan form of Buddhism much more. Instead of trying to quiet the mind, they overwhelm it, with chanting, thangkas depicting fierce guardians with necklaces of human heads, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, strong smelling incense, intense colors. I'm not a Buddhist, but this works for me better than mysterious koans. One hand clapping....ummm?

Allan said...

You just can't trust those religious types, now can you?

;)

The CEO said...

Lee,
I need to meet you one day, and I'll bring the red wine. I never understood how that worked.

Allan- I must have gotten it wrong. I always thought that Zen was philosophy and that Tao was like Scripture. But I have no certificate saying I know anything. I am willing to learn, however.

Claudia said...

what did the tea cups look like? Were they pretty? with dainty little teacup handles? hehe..

mist1 said...

That happened to my mom on an airplane once. Only it was a flight attendant and not a Zen master. Unless, she was in disguise, in which case we should apologize for how we treated her.

spoon said...

You wouldn't want to clear you mind, you would just really like a fantastic PA to help sort through the crap for you, so that you have on hand what you need when you need it. It's all about priorities and letting go of that which doesn't figure in to the equation at the time, it's not to say that at some point in time you won't need it...think we need to acknowledge our fallability and our reach..if you don't have control over it, don't worry about it.

Lee said...

To my understanding, Zen is a form and way to practice Buddhism (Japanese). The Tao is about "The Way," which I try to follow because, the way I read it, is about tapping into the flow of the world, feeling the connection we have to our earth, and each other. Every once in a while, I imagine I feel it, sometimes thru meditation, mostly thru accident. The Tao te Ching is a mysterious little book with lots of big thoughts.

And yes, we should have wine!

Lee said...

Oh sorry to bore, but here's a piece I did based one 31, one of the verses from the Tao te Ching. Taoism is a philosophy AND a religion. The religion side, like most, seems twisted and misinterpreted and kinda kookamungu.

Glamourpuss said...

Only a man! I bet the Zen Mistress had to clean it all up later...

Puss

Echo Mouse said...

LOL at all the comments!

An acupuncturist friend of mine uses this very analogy. Basically, she says that the mind and body can only hold so much before it breaks ....or loses it's bearings (goes insane, for instance). So, if you're stressed already, taking on more is going to push you over the top and ruin your health. She said it's like a glass of water (or as you said - a teacup full of tea). The water is the stress level. When the water level rises too high, it will spill over and then...well then you're in big trouble in terms of health and life quality.

So I'm all over this teacup thing. LOL

The CEO said...

I always knew that going to sleep was a waste of time....

Claudia- I have started singing your name in recognition of your artistic bent, well played

Mist- sounds like a play to me. Or a short story. You go girl!

Spoon- You are one of the better existentialists out there. That was really put so well I am sitting here marveling at how much you put into how small a space.

Lee- why is it that when people take the most beautiful ideas ever conceived and decide they must be practiced and codified somehow, they turn it into "kookamungu"? I liked the idea why Inidans worship the cow. Made sense.

Puss- true struggling always has the element of suffering in it. Well played!

The CEO said...

EchoMouse- So good to see you, I do hope things are better. Of course you are correct. Scholars say that the emptying of the mind, is really stepping away from what you know, ridding yourself of preconceived notions. That is an interpretation of just the single phrase.

For the rest of us, it helps to just let go and blow it out sometimes.

Crankster said...

I don't like Zen nearly as much as I like the techniques of Zen. The pedagogical style is awesome.