A disciple came to the master and said: Sir, I am like a leaky pot. I listen to the Dharma and it all goes in easily, but within half an hour nothing remains.
A second disciple said: Sir, I am like an up-side-down pot. I cannot let anything in.
A third disciple said: Sir, I am a dirty pot - I take it all in and keep it, but I am already corrupt and soon what has been poured in is contaminated by the greed, hate and delusion that was in there before.
The three disciples each asked: How can I make my pot perfect?
The master replied: Once there was a potter who made good pots. But in the process there were many faulty ones as well. The good pots were sold and each carried good water now and again. Each got clean and dirty many times. In the end they all got damaged one way or another and became faulty pots in their turn. The faulty pots he threw in the river beside where he worked. The pots that were in the river were always full of pure fresh water direct from the mountain. They were never thirsty. They were always clean, never contaminated, and nobody worried if they had cracks and holes any more. Sometimes customers waiting to buy new pots waited by the river and, looking down into the water, would muse, ‘How wonderful it is that this fine potter has even created here a shimmering mosaic floor.’