Many teachings from Zen-Buddhism are told in short and delightful stories. They are usually designed to develop the mind and to free it from distortions and so to connect with our spirit.
Empty your Cup First!
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?”
Moral : To achieve enlightenment, you must give away all your worries, thoughts and desire for worldly happiness, only then you can achieve true happiness, that is God’s love.
Is That So?
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.
Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.
When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah (An outcast.) by the whole village.
They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.
A year later the girl could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fish market.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”
Moral : Keep Calm, whatever happens good or bad don’t let it disrupt your inner peace.