Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM

First of all, the most important key to wisdom is the realization that you really know nothing and that you humbly bow before the mystery of life. If you want to become wise, you must profoundly understand that you can never really understand nor grasp life and the universe.

  • Our birth is a mystery,
  • our life is a mystery and
  • our death is a mystery.

The universe is so immense, life so unimaginably profound and our minds so limited in relation to it. Everything you think, every word, every explanation, everything you think you know, is just an attempt to grasp the incomprehensible. Therefore, the most important prerequisite for wisdom is to know that you cannot really know anything, that wisdom reveals itself beyond the mind and that you encounter the miracle of life openly, humbly and empty. Here is a wonderful story:

The Empty Cup

One day a disciple came to a great master. He had already heard so much about this wise man that he now wanted to study with him. All his affairs were settled, his bundle tied, and after several days of walking he had finally reached the top of the mountain where the master lived.

When the young man stood in front of him, the master sat on the floor and drank tea in peace. The student greeted him exuberantly and told him what he had already experienced and learned. Then he asked the master to be allowed to continue learning with him. The master smiled at him in a friendly manner and said to him: “Come back in a month”.

Confused by this answer, the young man returned to the valley. He discussed with friends and acquaintances why the master might have sent him back. A month later he climbed the mountain again and found the master drinking tea again and sitting on the floor.

This time the student told of all the hypotheses and assumptions that he and his friends had made about why he had sent him away. And again he asked him to be allowed to learn from him. The master smiled once again in his friendly way and said, “Come back in a month.”

The game was repeated several times. After many attempts, all in vain, the young man set out one last time. This time, when he arrived, he sat opposite the master, smiled and remained silent.

After a while, the master went into his hut and came back with a cup. He poured tea for the disciple and said: “Now you can stay here so that I can teach you. I can’t fill anything into a full vessel”.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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