Personal Interpretation of the Cup and the Tea

Previously, I have learned a very valuable lesson. It goes this way:

Tea could not be poured on an unempty cup. If tea is inside the cup, it becomes stale when it’s not emptied. And thus continually empty your cup so that your learning never stops.


All of us gather a little bit of everything around and make it our own. We learn from peers, family members, teachers, and strangers. If we see something good, something good to our eyes, we tend to copy these things and let these things define who we are. We want to be accepted because we agree with their thoughts and ideas, or to put it in other words, we wear their accessories.

I will not say this is bad because I believe this is a way wherein we confirm that we recognize other people. It’s just that sometimes, the things that we think are good with our eyes are in fact otherwise. We tend to gather and gather ideas that we do not pause to critically reflect if this really is a cool idea or not. We are content into thinking it is cool because they say it is cool. We tend to accessorize without checking if these accessories look good on us or not.

In my personal journey, I’ve realized that indeed, I was the type who thought it is cool because they say it is cool. I acquired accessories without checking if these accessories fit me or not. I’ve realized that I was like a pilot to war, piloting a robot with guns and guns only. During the war when I consumed all of my ammunition, I lay defenceless upon the enemy who, also without any ammunition, slashed me with a sword.

As a result of this accessorizing without checking, my ego was the one controlling my life. Ego, as one sex guru had said (yes, a sex guru who talked about ego), is what you think other people think about you. Thus, I justified my actions because of the wanting that my thoughts and their thoughts will synchronize. “I think this is not good but if they think it’s good, then, I think it’s good.” To restate, “These accessories doesn’t look cool but it’s cool to them so I’ll take them with me.”

Sometimes, if you let other people’s thoughts control you, you ask, “Should I put this accessory which I think is bad but they say is cool?” I believe that the question should never have been asked in the first place because it is never satisfied, it is senseless, and most of all, it is inessential. It’s just like asking the question: “I think that dog is telling me to laugh. I wonder why?” I don’t know why, but I’ll laugh anyway. Hahahahahaha! Hah hah. (Oh my gas, I’m laughing, hah hah).

Laughter is helpful. But don’t ever believe laughing is always the best medicine, because as far as I know, mad people who tend to always laugh are not always cured. But where does this fit in the Tea and the Cup? This doesn’t fit at all! First, it was a text message that a friend forwarded and second, it is already deviating from the topic. (Oh my gas. Again.)

If only you had established the fact; that the dog would never ask you to laugh for no particular reason, and that you could not talk to dogs, and that dogs could not tell you something in human tongue; then you wouldn’t think that the dog is telling you to laugh. If only you had established the fact that the accessory you put on yourself is your choice only and not the choice of others.

When bad things are told about you, you should either reflect if the bad things they say are true or maybe they just don’t know you well that they have concluded something bad from partial facts. If it is true, then you change your negative attitude into a positive one. If it is not, then, continue to be yourself. You do not need to disprove and approve what they say because in the first place, the issue is not about what they have said or the people who said it. In fact, it never really is an issue because what matters more is your response. Will you continue to improve? Or be stunted by what they say?

So in relation to what has been said, we should know our selves well so that the things people say to us or about us is not an issue. Rather, the issue would be focused on our response. Knowing ourselves is a process of gathering the ideas of other people and combining it with our own. We just have to be careful not to singularly use one hand, but to be adept in using both of our hands in an efficient and effective manner. On one hand is the ability to gather the ideas of others while on the other hand is the ability to create our own ideas.

Once we use our own ideas and the ideas of others, we should use both hands again to hack away the inessentials. When using one hand, we hack away what’s wrong in the ideas of other people. On the other hand, we hack away what’s wrong in our own ideas. We should not just hack the inessential ideas of others but also destroy our own flawed ideas. If we have a wrong idea, discard it. If others have a wrong idea, do not accept it. Thus, what we have is a trimmed and cleaned idea to hold ourselves.

We learn to effectively gather good ideas and discard wrong ones if we continually “empty our cups.” The personal analogy for the Cup and the Tea is that the Cup represents time and my (and I believe everyone else’s) nature to learn, while the Tea represents the ideas and knowledge of the world, or to put it in flowery words, the knowledge present in the cosmos. (oooohhhww… cosmos…). The cup is me and the tea is the idea. Again, to leave readers (including the writer) something to think about regarding the analogy, a story is presented below:

“He was invited in the room, scented with the fragrance of aromatic drinks rippled by the sounds of pouring water. He could not describe the scents and the sounds, though he believes that such scents and sounds would surely be never forgotten. The host who invited him for tea was also enjoying the scents and the sounds, but more than that, the feeling of tea inside one’s heart and mind.

The host wasn’t just enjoying tea, but numbers and numbers and kinds and kinds of tea. In fact, the guest cannot comprehend how the host stores and holds thousands, millions, billions, and more kinds of tea. Still, the guest knows that the host holds an infinite amount and type of tea.

The host lifts a tea pot while he gets a tea cup. ‘Here, have some tea.’ The dark red tea captures his eyes as it fills his cup the way a tea would fill a cup. ‘It’s a colourful tea,’ he said to himself as his hands brought the cup towards his nose. ‘It smells good.’ Indeed, it smelled and looked good, and he made a few blows to cool the hot tea. After that, he took a curious sip.

Alas, it was a not-so-good-tasting tea. He wanted to complain to his host for serving bad tea, but he just kept silent. The host too kept silent but smiled at him. The host thought that the guest should have complained or commented about the tea.

After he finished the bad tea, the host took hold of another teapot. Tea was poured on his empty cup. The tea was dull green in colour and had no particular smell. He thought that the tea would probably taste bland. But still, he drank it.

It was full of flavour. It was indescribable. It made him feel good and asked for more of the tea but the host said he should taste the other kinds prepared just for him. The host also said that tasting just one tea and be full of it would be like one man content of one bar of gold, when the man could also have a bar of silver, bronze, and others. He was amazed by the wisdom of his host and also by the taste of the tea lingering inside him, and so gladly complied to be served other types of tea.

So, he tasted hundreds and thousands of types of tea and his cup was also filled hundreds and thousands of times. The guest tried hundreds and thousands of tea, all with distinct smells, colours, tastes, and feelings. Some were sweet, some were sour, some were bitter, some were tea, and some were a combination of this and that. But of all the tea that he tasted, the worst was the first tea he had, while the best was the one that followed after the first one. The best tea was the one that looked dull green and had no particular smell while the worst one was dark red with a fragrant smell. He did all the drinking while the host did the pouring.

After tasting so many kinds of tea, the host told him that one of the best would be served after he drinks the tea of his choice from all the other tea he had tasted so far. He said he wanted the second kind, the one with a dull green colour with no particular scent. The host smiled and poured the tea of his choice on his empty cup. Then the host said, ‘Finish that and I will serve you something surely better.’

So after the tea he chose was poured into his cup, he watched the host put down the tea pot and started to prepare new tea. After a while, the host lifted a tea pot that resembled the one which contained the worst tea he had tasted, and poured tea on a cup. He saw that the tea resembled the first tea he had tasted, only it smelled and looked stronger. ‘This is the tea I’m talking about. Let’s drink,’ the host said.

When he offered his cup to be filled, he realized that it was still full. This was so because he wanted to savour the tea a little longer and decided to drink it slowly. This was also so because as he watched the host prepare the new tea, he forgot to take a sip every now and then.

He lifts the cup to his mouth to finish the dull green tea, and as it touched his lips, he realized it was already cold. The tea ran through his tongue and dived into his throat. Contrary to his expectation, it tasted so awful! He said to the host, ‘Why did this tea become so awful?’

‘Ah, that is the nature of that tea. It tastes good while it’s hot. When it cools, aside from losing its taste, it also becomes bitter. All the tea that I serve is similar. It is best when it is warm or hot. Yes, it is still tea when it’s cold, but it could’ve been better if it was hot. Hurry and empty your cup that I may pour some of this great tea’ (I believe that the host does not serve iced tea).

‘Ohhh.’ Then he remembered the colour of the tea he first tasted. He also remembered the same smell as he watched the host pour the newly made tea on an empty cup. He then concluded that the tea must have been the same awful tea that he had already had, but now much more awful. So he did not empty his cup and just engaged a conversation with the host. ‘At least, this tea is less awful than that one,’ he said to himself.

And so the guest held his unempty cup as the host was drinking the tea that is said to be better than what the guest had tasted so far”

A cup empty all the time and a cup unempty all the time is the same. May we all continually use our cups that we may drink thousands and hundreds of kinds of tea. Of course not just tea, but also water, brandy, and juice.

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