One Priceless Lesson We Often Forget About Emptying Our Cup — Banchi Inspirations

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There is a common story in Buddhism about a scholar who went to talk to a Zen master. The scholar spends most of the time talking over the master, basically showing off. The master eventually starts pouring tea for the scholar but doesn’t stop pouring.

When the tea fills the cup and starts to overflow the scholar shouts, “ stop, no more tea will fit”. The mater responds, “ You are like this cup. You ask for teaching but your cup is full. Before I can teach you, you must empty your cup.”

We are familiar with Bruce Lee’s quote:

In order to learn and grow one must be open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new understanding.

I know you do this because we all do it. I also know you do this because it has become a habit. You fill your cup to the maximum and think you can add more. You can’t.

You have a choice.

If you want to add to your cup, you must reduce from your cup. You must let go of what is inside your cup.

Stop getting in your own way.

You do not learn anything if you keep on holding what you know currently with a tight fist.

Stop saying that you know everything.

Stop telling yourself that you are an expert.

Stop filling your cup up to the maximum.

Here’s a priceless lesson:

Let go of your ego:

It prevents you from learning from others. It is your enemy standing on the door of any new learning’s.

Put away pride:

If you want to learn something from anybody, you must turn your back on your pride. Your pride has no place in your learning environment.

Ask yourself:

“Are you really an expert? Are you sure that you know everything about that subject matter that you are boasting about?”

Keep an open mind:

You might have the most beautiful thing in your possession in the form of your mind but if it is closed off you might as well be on your own funeral. Because you cannot really say that you are living when you have willingly shut your mind from the outside world and you have thrown the key out.

There is this thing called perspective:

Practice looking at something from someone else’s viewpoint.

Empty your cup:

You learn if there is a space in your mind for new things. You learn if you are willing to add new things from the outside — the outside is your colleague, your boss, your partner, your family, a stranger on the subway or in the supermarket, or it could be you. Or it could even be your enemy.

Yes, you can learn from your enemy. You can learn not to be like him/her. You can learn what not to be.

Carl Jung was right when he said:


To your inspirations, Banchi

Originally published at on April 30, 2019.

A teacher. A writer. I’m on a mission to write sparkling articles. Get my free blog posts in your inbox:

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