This is a Dharma Glimpse that I originally presented on 11/24/19 as a participant in the Lay Ministry program of the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down to dinner at a local Indian restaurant with a couple of other Buddhist-minded folks from the Unitarian-Universalist congregation that we each participate in. I must admit that in the back of my head there was a bit of reservation present about eating at this particular restaurant as in the past I have had minimal if any contact with Indian cuisine, this likely being the first time I’ve actually eaten food of this variety. By the time I had eaten a few bites I had decided that I had found a new favorite as the restaurant offered heaping portions (I got 3 meals out of my order) and the food was absolutely delicious, being spiced to such an extent that even my own eyes were watering quite a bit, something that came as a surprise as I’m a big fan of spicy food!
Its not uncommon for us to walk into a restaurant for a meal with pre-conceived thoughts about how the food, the atmosphere and the experience may touch us. I feel that we can identify that this line of thinking doesn’t end here either as I’m sure we can all agree that if we were to evaluate any typical day that we could easily find ourselves approaching countless different day-to-day scenarios and occurrences with pre-conceived judgments based off of the ways we think things will appear or transpire. How often do we walk into a meeting thinking we know the outcome, meet a new person thinking we already know something significant about them or assume we know what someone else on the roadways can and can not see, expects or doesn’t expect? (I’m particularly guilty of this one!)
My mind goes to a common Zen parable-story of sorts. It has several different presentations but they all hit at the same point: A Zen student-hopeful once approached a teacher and asked to be accepted as a student, to be trained in the ways of Zen. The teacher took a cup and began to fill it for the student, filling it until the small cup began to overflow. Alarmed, the student shouted “Stop!”. “Your mind is like this teacup, overflowing, come back when you have emptied it” the teacher responded.
May we each take this lesson to heart by placing our pre-conceived thoughts judgements to the side. May we experience daily life with open-eyes, as a fresh, clean cup.