Author: Bengt (Page 49 of 81)

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup)

The teacup story is around in different versions, here is one version:

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

Here is another version:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, 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?

I like the tea story a lot, it is a great reminder that in order to learn we have to be humble, to empty our mind and make room for the new.

Here are some quotes about learning, I love the one about beginner’s mind.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before. – Henry David Thoreau

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting something go every day. – Zen Proverb

This was originally posted at Zen And More, another blog of mine.

WriteMonkey text editor

Through Another Fantastic Full Screen Text Editor I found WriteMonkey. It says:

Zenware for full screen distraction free creative writing. No whistles and bells, just empty screen, you and your words. WriteMonkey is light, fast, and perfectly handy for those who enjoy the simplicity of a typewriter but live in modern times.

I downloaded WriteMonkey and test it. It’s a great software with many features. I like the easy toggle between full screen (for no distractions) and small window to access other stuff. My only complaint so far is the progress or status bar that has very little information.

Read more:
WriteMonkey Text Editor where it says that WriteMonkey is the new king of full-screen distraction free text editing.

Beyond – Three Voices For Peace

I got the CD Beyond from a close friend of mine. The website is at Beyond Singing – Buddhist and Christian Prayers. The main site is in German but there is an English version. The site has a Flash-player so you can listen to short pieces of the songs there.

The CD contains a spiritual message by Tina Turner (inspired by Deepak Chopra and RUMI), the full message can be read at her fansite BEYOND. Here is the beginning of Tina’s message:

Nothing lasts forever, nobody lives forever. The Flower dries and dies, the winter passes and spring comes. Embrace the circle of life: That is the greatest love. Go beyond the fear. Don’t give in to the insistence of fear, anger and vengeance and thou shall be beyond the fear, where love grows and thrives. To be liberated means to really feel yourself. Start each day like the birds singing. Singing helps you beyond, far, further, more and more.

It’s amazing how well the Buddhist and Christian prayers blend, it’s a real pleasure to listen to. Beyond creates a sense of peace and calm.

JK Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech

On Twitter @ColinLewis mentioned the JK Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech from June 5 2008 on the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. It’s a brilliant speech with wit and wisdom, I have listened to it several times already. Total time is around 20 minutes, time well spent.

There are several versions available, these ones have great sound:
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 1
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 2
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 3

This is part 1:

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

The cracked pot

I got this classic story from a friend, it’s great and makes us see cracks and flaws in a different way.

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

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