Empty Your Cup

               There is a story of an Elder teacher and two brothers.  The younger brother traveled the world over seeking knowledge and he heard about the honorable teacher.  He came before the teacher with an open heart and stayed with him for 3 years and learned a great many things.  The older brother stayed at home and took over his father’s business and felt as if he had been cheated out of his life.  The older brother had also accumulated a great deal of knowledge about his father’s business.  The younger brother came home after his 3 years with the honorable teacher a very peaceful, contented person, and began to work in his father’s business.  He told the older brother about the teacher.  The older brother was angry and felt as if his younger brother was lazy and useless and didn’t know anything at all.  Finally, in his raging anger the older went to look for the honorable teacher.

               The Elder teacher offered the older brother a cup of tea.  The older brother watched as the honorable teacher poured hot water into his tea cup, the water began to fill the cup and yet, the teacher kept pouring.  Water ran over the cup and onto the table.  The older brother was becoming frustrated with the teacher and he was thinking, “this is a stupid old man”.  Water covered the table and ran onto the ground, the teacher continued to pour.  Finally, the older brother said, “don’t you see what you are doing, you are making a mess.”

The honorable teacher spoke gently, “Yes, it is as you are.  Your cup is so full, how can I pour anything else into your cup?  Your brother’s cup was empty when he came to me, and he received total enlightenment.  You must empty your cup.”

Theses words from the Elder teacher stunned and dazed the older brother.  He became humble and emptied all opinions and judgments and understood what the honorable teacher had said.  He stayed with the great teacher and studied for 9 years and obtained enlightenment.

This story hangs in the air around me and brings to my attention daily “empty my cup”.  There are so many things in life that I sometimes miss because my cup is too full to receive them.  Breathing into the moment is a great way of clearing the air and emptying my cup.

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  1. O, tubears! Thank you for this story. I am so full, and I long for the emptiness this story speaks of.

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