The Empty Cup

A great martial arts teacher was visited by a young, well-known and respected university professor.

“I have come a long way to see you,” he said. “I have heard that you are a great Karate Master, the Art of Empty Self. I have so many questions for you. I, myself, have studied very hard for many years to understand the essence of what you teach. Can you tell me the meaning of Karate? Of Empty Self? How it can bring peace to the world? What is the secret of this teaching?”

The Martial Arts Master was serving the professor tea as the professor rambled on with question after question. The Master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim with tea… and then, kept on pouring. Now, the tea was running off the table onto the floor.

The professor watched bewildered until he could no longer restrain himself. Finally, he shouted, “Can’t you see the cup is full! No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” the Master smiled, “your mind is full of questions and seeking answers! Until you empty your cup, no more can go in. Likewise, until you present me with an empty mind, you cannot learn or receive anything.”


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