The Basin and the Bowl — A Zen Story

Rahul S
4 min readJul 8, 2023


Once upon a time, in a quaint village nestled among the undulating Rolling Hills, a young man named Hiro dwelled. Hiro was renowned in the village for his mind. It was sharp, but akin to a tempestuous sea. His thoughts constantly churned, analyzing and fretting over the past and the future. His mind resembled a cluttered attic, lacking tranquility.

One fateful day, whispers reached Hiro’s ears of a revered Zen master dwelling atop a distant Mountain. Legend had it that this master possessed the elusive secret to uncover inner peace and serenity. Intrigued, Hiro resolved to embark on a journey in search of the Zen master’s wisdom.

After enduring days of arduous travel, Hiro finally ascended to the pinnacle of the mountain. There, he beheld the Zen master, seated with closed eyes, immersed in deep meditation. As Hiro approached, he bowed with utmost reverence.

“Master,” Hiro spoke with earnestness, “I have ventured here to seek your guidance. My mind is restless, and my soul longs for inner peace. Can you teach me the art of emptying my troubled mind?”

With a serene countenance, the Zen master opened his eyes and fixed his gaze upon Hiro.

“Empty your mind, you say? Very well, I shall instruct you,” he replied.

The master beckoned Hiro towards a serene courtyard. It was adorned with a resplendent garden. And at its center stood a grand Stone Basin, brimming with shimmering water.

Hiro watched, fascinated, as the master clasped a ladle and dipped it into the Basin’s depths, retrieving a ladleful of water. With grace, he poured the water into a smaller, empty bowl nearby.

The master turned to Hiro and spoke, his voice carrying the wisdom of ages, “Now, Hiro, your task is to empty the Basin entirely. You must transfer all the water from this vast expanse to the small vessel without allowing a single drop to spill.”

Hiro surveyed the monumental task before him. His thoughts swirled in perplexity. How could he possibly empty the colossal Basin into such a minute bowl? Despite his bewilderment, Hiro accepted the challenge and began the laborious undertaking.

Hours elapsed. Hiro dipped his ladle into the Basin and poured its contents into the…