Filled To Overflowing

A university professor approached a master, hoping to learn about the nature of Zen. 

“I know a great deal about the workings of the physical world,” the scholar explained, “but perhaps you could add to my knowledge by offering some thoughts about the nature of the spiritual world.”

“Let us have a cup of tea,” said the master.  “and then we shall talk.”

The professor held out his cup as the master poured, filling the cup to the brim and then continuing to pour until the tea spilled onto the floor.

“The cup is overflowing,” the professor protested. “No more will go in.”

“Yes, it is,” said the master.  “Just as this cup is filled to overflowing, so is your mind filled with opinions and speculations, leaving no room to receive the teachings.  Only when you empty your cup can we begin.”