A monk said to Joshu, “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
“Have you eaten your rice porridge?” asked Joshu.
“Yes, I have,” replied the monk.
“Then you had better wash your bowl,” said Joshu.

This is a famous koan that deals with the concept of emptiness which is very important in Zen studies.  Zen practitioners, and anyone who practices meditation, has been told to empty their mind. That includes emptying it of any thoughts that you will ever attain true enlightenment.

You ate the rice porridge, so you have emptied the bowl.

But is it truly empty?

Would washing the bowl empty it?

Won’t we fill the bowl again with our next meal?


The empty bowl drawing on this post comes from the website of the Empty Bowl Zendo which is located very near Paradelle.

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