Emptying out the tea cupPosted: January 28, 2009 | Author: Doug | Filed under: Buddhism, Jodo Shinshu, Religion, Zen | 4 Comments »
Speaking of tea, I was reading the writings of Prof. Shigaraki, who’s a scholar and minister of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, better known as “Shin Buddhism”. In the last section of his book on Shin Buddhism, he writes the following:
…To clarify this sense of choosing, you have to know what to throw away. If your cup is full, nothing else comes in. If you’re clinging, you can’t accept anything else. Only when you throw all else out, is the nembutsu able to strike you. “All things are empty.” All things wealth, prestige, relationships-are ultimately unreliable. That realization, and the realization that only the nembutsu is real, is a reality that is made the decisive choice in the meaning of life.
The highlighted part really struck me all the way home from work.* It has a certain Zen-like quality to it.** I could really see in my mind the little Japanese-style tea cup filled to the brim with green tea and me trying to pour more and more in there, not understanding why it doesn’t work. That was me when I wrote the previous blog and all the other blogs I wrote in the past on Buddhism. I am glad I finally learned to empty the cup.
* – A 90-minute commute in my case. In spite of its size, getting through downtown Dublin is no easy task.
** – Apologies to the Zen guys. I know this word gets exploited quite a bit. I hope you appreciate the intent though.