March 30, 2012

You need to first unlearn

A great story and lesson.

There was a great Taoist master who was holding an audience when one of his students came to him and said, "Master, can you teach me about the Tao, teach me about the way. What do I need to know?" And the master said, "Oh, certainly, I can."

As he poured the student some tea and the master started chatting to him and he said, "Well, there's much you must know before you start to learn."

And the master continued to pour the tea until the teacup filled right up and then started to overflow . . . he didn't stop pouring. The student said to him, "Master, my cup is full. You must stop pouring. You're wasting all the tea."

The master continued to pour and the student said, "Stop, stop, stop! You've got to stop!" And the master continued to pour as the tea was overflowing.

Finally, the master said to the student, "Son, you need to recognize this teacup is your mind. At the moment, it is already full and no matter what else I teach you, it's going to overflow because there's no room for new learnings in your mind. " 

You first need to unlearn before you can learn.