Zen Stories Essay

269 Words2 Pages
Zen Stories are short and simple stories that teach moral lessons. Each story makes use of situational symbolism to lead the reader to the message of it. One striking story is "A Cup of Tea". The characters are Nan-in and a Professor. Both characters are considered to be of high educational status as revealed in their titles; one is a Zen master and the other one is a Professor. In the story the Professor came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in, being hospitable, served tea. On the contrary, Nan-in poured the tea to the cup and let it overflow. Because the professor could not restrain himself from seeing the overflowing tea, he tried to stop Nan-in from pouring the cup. In that situation, Nan-in told him that the overflowing cup of tea is like the professor who has preconceived ideas about Zen and with this the professor could not understand Zen because he knew Zen beforehand. The use of tea is appropriate to the message that the story would like to imply. However, the story did not directly state about the professor's preconceived biases. It was only the statement of Nan-in that made the reader believe the professor's notions. Judging the action of Nan-in, what the story would like to teach is that one must keep an open mind in order to understand something or to acquire new knowledge. What the reader probably did not see is the swift judgement of Nan-in towards the professor. Assuming that they just met, does it not an act of being judgmental
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