Empty Your Cup

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Spirituality in the Arts' started by PhotonGuy, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Its sometimes said in the martial arts that you should empty your cup of knowledge. Another words, stop thinking you know so much and start learning from the beginning. By emptying your cup you have room to learn more stuff. If you ask me, its a good thing to do.
     
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  2. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I always thought it was just something cool to say. I prefer, "Shut your yap, for once in your life, and listen!" :)
     
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  3. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    All of us here dropping any preconceived notions we have and listening to everyone else's opinion.....yeah, that's the ticket.

    I gotta' get me some more cups. :)
     
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  4. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    I find my knowledge increases when I empty a couple of bottles especially when they come in a pack of 6.
     
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  5. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    My cup renneth over...:smuggrin:
     
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  6. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Assume that you will live for 100 years. You empty your cup when you were

    - 10 years old, you will have 90 years to refill your cup.
    - 20 years old, you will have 80 years to refill your cup.
    - ...
    - 90 years old, you will have 10 years to refill your cup.
    - 100 years old, you will die with your cup empty.

    When you (general YOU) are 70 years old and you still don't know what's right and what's wrong, there is something wrong in your training. At some point time in your life, you will need to hold on your cup. That's called "faith".
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
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  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    You don't just randomly empty you cup without good reason. Context is everything.

    If you are learning something new, best to learn it for its own merits and not try to force it to be like something you already know. That is appropriate emptying of the cup.

    And that does not automatically mean you have to throw away what you have already done before. You might decide to do that, but it's not a given.
     
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  8. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Think of your belt level as your ability to listen. By the time you reach black belt, you should have the courtesy, and the ability, to listen to anyone. If you instantly dismiss, you have been over promoted.
     
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  9. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Sometime you may not be able to empty your cup for some special reason.

    I have suggested my Taiji friend that when he does Taiji "double pulling", instead of to have both palms facing down (you can't "pull"), he should have one palm facing up and one palm facing down (you can "pull").



    After I offered my suggestion to him, he didn't change his move for 30 years. One day I saw his "double pulling" was finally changed and I asked him why. He said since he learned Taiji from his Taiji teacher, as long as his Taiji teacher was still alive, He could not change it. After his Taiji teacher had passed away, he finally had the freedom to empty his cut and refill it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  10. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    I'm not sure it really is about empty. I think it's more about flexible:

    a) having the humility to realise that the things you suspect are likely true may not be

    b) always being able to entertain the idea of something without committing to it or trashing it, then after consideration either disposing of it or assimilating into your cup

    c) acknowledging that you will never know the truth, you will only become more confident of what is likely true

    So I really can reach 90 and say I still don't know what's right. I'll have a better idea than when I was 18, but I'll never be sure.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I often use the same term. What I believe is meant by the phrase is to adjust your attitude when receiving instruction so that you are a receptive and willing learner.

    When one thinks that they 'already know' how to perform a given technique, they may tend not to listen well to any additional instruction on the topic. When asked to practice the technique, they may practice it they way they believe they 'already know' it, rather than the way the instructor wishes it to be done.

    It refers to ego, basically.

    We have a sign on the door that says "Leave your shoes and your attitude at the door."

    Another way to look at it is that if your 'cup is full' metaphorically, no instructor can add anything to your knowledge. To empty your cup is to be receptive and willing to absorb more learning.

    It is something I have to remind myself of constantly. I even say it to myself as I step out onto the floor. Deep breath, settle, tell myself, "Empty your cup, student."
     
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  12. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not actually a huge fan of the 'empty your cup' idea. It assumes that whatever you have learned will be useless in the new art. I much prefer the idea that you can use what you have already learned and combine them for your own preference, as long as you stay humble about what you have not yet learned.
     
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  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    The version of this story I've heard has to do with a zen master and an academic. The two meet at the request of the academic who states that he wants to learn about Zen. When they meet, however, the academic dominates the conversation and does not listen.

    Long and short of it is that it is not a lesson about abandoning what you know or pretending you know nothing. Rather, I take it simply to mean that if you are talking, you cannot also be listening.

    Edit: Just want to be clear that it sounds like many of you have heard a different version of this parable. I have only heard the one version, and it's pretty consistent.
     
  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    When Bill Maher talks to Rush Limbaugh, I don't believe either one will empty his cup.

    What's the difference here?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  15. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Ones cup is full of poo and the other's is filled with cheeseburgers and blasphemy:p
     
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  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    In my opinion, when learning something new is not the time for that. Later, one can decide if that fits, but not during the initial learning process.
     
  17. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Political posting? Not allowed here.
     
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  18. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    The very though of, clearing your mind or emptying your cup, is something. and when you think about doing it, you are neither, clearing your mind or emptying your cup. :)
     
  19. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That is still suggesting that whatever you have already learned is useless. IMO a good instructor will take whatever you have already learned, help you apply what is similar from your previous style, and empty out that which is not useless. Not tell you to ignore all that you have already learned and completely restart anew.
     
  20. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Emptying your cup was teaching a lesson in humility and be open to new insight.
    The monk was not telling the professor abandon his experience and knowledge but be open to others as in the fullness was a metaphor for arrogance(which was displayed by the professor giving a lecture to a monk about how much he knew about zen)
     

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