Zen story: a cup of tea

zen tea cup chan

As some of you know, I love a good zen story, and this one is one of my favourites – not to mention that it is a classic.

Since I’ve started teaching and sharing this realisation, I can doubly appreciate how important this teaching is. So many seekers come loaded with their preconceived ideas, and it makes the simple essence difficult to pierce through. This version of the story is taken from the wonderful book ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ compiled by Paul Reps, and is the first of the Zen stories given – and with good reason too. Here is it:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’

‘Like this cup,’ Nan-in said, ‘you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?’

Empty your cup completely, then insight can arise by itself, naturally and spontaneously. Empty yourself completely.

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Poetry: Unplug Yourself

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Unplug yourself:
For the one caught,
Hard and fast,
In the snare of society,
A period of sustained abstinence is necessary.

Unplug yourself:
From the media
From television
The radio.

Unplug yourself:
From naratives
In films
In books
In magazines.

Unplug yourself:
From idle chatter
From gossip
From social status.

Don’t believe the Hype.
Don’t believe the promise of a future happiness,
That lies outside of yourself,
Just around the corner,
In that Ferari,
In that person,
In that experience,
In that object.

Let go,
Let go of egoic desire,
Let go of that future promise of pleasure,
Let go of the pull of sensual desire,
Do not be afraid to feel that pain.

Be open,
Be open to your feelings,
Do not be afraid to think your thoughts,
Do not be afraid of what is.

Unplug yourself:
For the one caught,
Hard and fast,
In the snare of society,
A period of sustained abstinence is necessary.

Unplug yourself:
from your thoughts and mind.
This is the real unplugging:
Being unplugged from thoughts and mind.

I repeat:
This is the real unplugging:
Being unplugged from thoughts and mind.

Immerse yourself in Pure Consciousness,
Devoid of Mind, Body and World,
Ever-Free,
Joyous,
Full of love and light.

Remain here,
Until what has to be done,
Is done.

Remain here,
in Lovingness and Light,
Until what has to be done,
Is done.

Poetry: O! Murderous Heart!

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Allow the mind to sink,
down down down,
down into the Heart.

Allow the mind to rest,
allow the thoughts to still,
and allow the Joy and Bliss,
(which is none other than the purifying Heart itself)
to well up.

Allow this to happen,
quite naturally,
unforced,
and paradoxically with no expectation.

The mind quietens,
and temporarily,
the self-centred egoic process does not exist.

With repeated cessation of the mind,
the self-image-centred ego is submerged,
then through time it is weakened,
and eventually it is consumed by the Gracious Heart.

Then all is left is Purity,
just Purity Purity Purity;
the resplendent Heart,
Bounteous,
Over-spilling with Joy.

The Energy,
seemingly boundless,
everywhere and everything…

…How can you speak of this?

My words are uttered in poetry,
not prose,
destined two fall upon the attentive ears
of one who has already discovered
the intoxication of the Self.

O! Murderous Heart!
You have smothered me,
Warmly and tenderly,
In the heat of your Love,
Where am I to be found?!

O!Words cannot describe Your wonder,
Your effulgence,
Your light,
Your love…

…words fill me with glory
Yours and Mine;
our glory is but One Glory:
it is Me,
and it has nothing to do with me;
it is Mine,
and yet it is not mine;
it is here,
but it is no particular thing;
it is everything,
but not even everything.

Yes…words cannot touch this,
yet these words spew forth,
like an idiot talking to a drunkard,
somehow it all makes perfect sense.

Total Freedom

Freedom from suffering is a total freedom.

Which means you are free to suffer.

Suffering is ok. When it’s ok, it’s no longer suffering. Just sensations, some more comfortable than others, the body-mind organism naturally responding to the feedback provided by the senses.

It’s just what ever is happening.

What is.

Allow My Bliss to fill you up

God is Love
Know Me as That which resides in your heart,
Know Me as the Source of all Bliss:
-Meditate on Me,
-Love Me,
-Be with Me.

I will straighten you out,
Heal you,
Make you whole;

I will descend into you,
and pervading your body,
I will fill you with light, warmth and love,
Thus replenishing you from within,
Inside to out.

Do not extend the tentacles of your desire
outwards towards wordly things,
But come to Me
Within your heart.

Rest within,
Surrendering unto Me,
Allow My Bliss to fill you up.

Over and over again,
Allow My Bliss to fill you up.

In seeing truth, love is

mountain valley light

In Freedom, you don’t care about love, or any other projected ideal.
You don’t try to be more ethical. Maybe you are more loving, maybe you are not.

That’s why this automatically tends towards love – because there is no motive, because the ego is not at play. It may go against intuition but love does not care about love.

Love just is when things are seen for what they are.
To put it more poetically, in seeing truth (of no-self), love is.

The above is an excerpt from the article Love, Happiness and Non-duality