The Japanese master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of philosophy. Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor’s cup, and kept pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: “Stop! The cup is overfull, no more will go in.” Nan-in said, “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
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Once a frog from the ocean came and jumped into a well. He got acquainted with the frog in the well and the well frog asked, ‘From where do you come?’ He said, ‘I have come from the ocean.’ The well frog asked, ‘Is it bigger than this well?’ Of course suspicion was in his eyes, doubt in his mind, ‘How can anything be bigger than this well where I live?’ The ocean frog laughed and said, ‘It is very difficult to say anything because there is no measure.’ The well frog said, ‘Then I will give you some measure so that you can.’ He jumped one quarter of the well, one fourth of the way across, and said, ‘Is it that big?’ The ocean frog laughed and said, ‘No.’ So he jumped half of the well, and said, ‘Is it that big?’ Again the ocean frog laughed and said, ‘No.’ Then he jumped three quarters and said, ‘Is it that big?’ Again the ocean frog said, ‘No.’ Then he jumped the whole well, the whole length, and said, ‘Now – now you cannot say no.’ The ocean frog said, ‘You may feel hurt, and I don’t want to be offensive, but still the answer is no.’ Then the well frog said, ‘Get out from here, you liar. Nothing can be bigger than this well!’
“So please understand from the start, when I’m talking to you, I’m not trying to convert you. I’m not trying to do you any good.I’m just doing my own stuff. I talk this way like birds sing. It amuses me. I enjoy it because I’m interested. I’m full of wonder about this universe. Full of all sorts of thoughts about it and I like to share these with people not in order to interfere with your personal lives or make you dependent on me, heaven forbid. If I had enough people dependent on me I would have no sleep at nights at all, it would be on the phone, be hanging around as I go away. But simply that I think that with our exchange of ideas and rubbing ourselves against each other we may find something of mutual interest. And let’s not make any more ambitious claim for it than that. Because anything beyond that would be getting us into the world of power games. Trying to influence people, trying to control people and I’m not interested in that.”