KungFu and Humility

Humility (Qian Xu) is achieved when pride is under control. An old Chinese proverb states: “Pride loses, humility earns”. KungFu wisdom teaches that we should always be looking for ways to better ourselves. That there is no limit to knowledge. No matter how deep you have reached, there is always a deeper level to be achieved. The Another  old Chinese proverb teaches: “There is always a man beyond the man, there is sky above the sky.” Since this is so, how can anyone be proud of his own deeds? We all must remember that the taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bows.

The master didn’t reply. Instead, he picked up a teacup and placed it in front of the student. He then picked up the teapot and poured until the tea reached the rim of the cup, and then he kept on pouring until the tea overflowed onto the table. The student stared at the master in total confusion and said, “No, no, Master! The cup is overflowing!”

The master stopped pouring, looked at him and smiled. He said, “Young man, this is you. I am sorry that I  can not accept you as a student. Like this cup, your mind is filled up and I cannot teach you anymore. If you want to learn, you must first empty your cup.”

In order to be humble, you must first rid yourself of false dignity. This is especially true in front of a master. A person who is really wise knows when and how to bend, and always keeps his cup empty. There is a very popular story, commonly taught in KungFu Schools: Once upon a time, a student came to see a Zen master. He said,”Honorable master, I have studied for many years, and I have learned so much about the martial arts and Zen theory already that I have reached a very high level. I heard that you are a great master, and I have therefore come to see if you can teach me anything more.”

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