Saturday, 7 January 2017

You can know too much.

North Beach Iona

One of my very early pastels.

I have often been asked why I never got involved in the political life. I was very involved in protests and all sorts of things in my youth. 

The desire to try and make the world a better place was one of the biggest driving forces of my youth and I suppose that has never left. I would still love to make the world a better place. or even just get it back to what I think it was like in the sixties when we all seemed to care a bit more, not just about ourselves but others.

Why did I not? Well I suppose I met one or two many in the political life who seemed to make it look like the most important thing in life was self rather than those who had elected them. The young couple who were told by a local politician if they got married in my protestant church they would never get a house from the local council. or the politician who sat and listened to my plan to help people who could not afford it the opportunity to get good reconditioned furniture at a price they could, and employ people in the process. 

He did not think that was a good scheme yet about a month later it was reported in the press that he had come up with this marvellous scheme that he was hoping to get up and running.

So not the world for me but people did benefit from the scheme but he more than most.

A professor told his students that having learned everything there was to know about most things he was going on a sabbatical to visit a Zen master to see if there was maybe something he could still learn or share with the master. 

He did just that.

The Zen master was one, Nan-in.

The professor approached him and stated his business.

Nan-in invited him to be seated and proceeded to prepare the tea ceremony. It seemed obvious that the professor thought he was more important than that, and the tea ceremony was taking far to long. 

Nan-in passed over a beautiful cup and began to pour the tea, and he kept on pouring and pouring.

The professor now very impatient and thinking he would learn nothing here could not restrain himself. 

"It is overfull. No more will go in can you not see that."

"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 ?"

There is none who have learned all but the greatest lesson is the one of humility.

Have a wonderful day. 


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