A Cup of Tea

In the Qi Dynasty, a group of Court Ministers, highly established in their careers, were talking at an Imperial gathering and decided to go visit their old Master, now retired. They longed to show their sensei what they had achieved in their lives and bask in his pride for them. How happy he would be to see his teachings had allowed them to achieve such respected positions in life.

During their visit, the conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests tea, the old Master went to the hearth and returned with a large pot of tea and an assortment of cups – porcelain, earthen pottery, jade, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the tea. When all his old students had a cup of tea in hand, the Master said:

“Notice that all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the tea. In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was tea, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups…. and then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this:

Life is the tea; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life. The type of cup one has does not define, nor change the quality of life a person lives. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the tea. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly…… And enjoy your tea.

© 2012  Commonsensibly Speaking ~ Brad Osborne

6 Responses to “A Cup of Tea”
  1. eddocpa says:

    “How sweet it is”——Jackie Gleason

  2. melanie says:

    love this one brad! very true, thanks for the reminder!

  3. Amy Putkonen says:

    I love this story! I am a sucker for pretty cups so he definitely would have caught me out on that one! Lol! Great example for us. Thanks.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks Amy! Much like you I have always enjoyed writing. These parables are a humble effort to provide a creative story line that provokes the reader to distill some minor insights into the understanding of the teachings offered through Tao. I love your blog and your commitment to providing an insightful and modern translation of the Tao Te Ching. May you find enlightenment as you walk your path. Thanks for sharing your work so selflessly!

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