Ancient Cultivation Stories: Modesty

There once was a famous Buddhist monk in Japan. One day, he received a visiting scholar. This scholar was quite conceited and talked endlessly, narrating his own enlightening remarks to the monk. The monk patiently listened, and at the same time he poured tea for the scholar. The tea had already filled the cup but the monk did not stop, and the tea overflowed from the cup.

Seeing this, the scholar said immediately: "The tea is overflowing!"

The monk gently smiled while talking to himself: "Oh, the teacup has already overflowed, then it could not contain any more."

This scholar, being very intelligent, comprehended the truth immediately. Therefore he corrected his arrogant and complacent manner right away and modestly asked for advice, and in the end he benefited a lot.

If a person becomes complacent, how can he possibly further improve and develop himself? Therefore it is said that a person must be modest, and complacency should be prohibited as well as arrogance. "Pride hurts, modesty benefits" is an eternally famous Chinese teaching. The Chinese ancients have another saying, "Having a receptive mind like a hollow mountain valley arouses echoes," to describe how a person's mind that is as open, wide, and deep as a mountain valley, is able to contain, accept and learn from other people's merits.

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