The Bowl

The "Empty Bowl" became my metaphor for all student learning in my classes when I taught in the community college as a full time instructor.  It's significance is rooted in the expression of the VOID as described in Chapter 11 of the Tao Te Ching.wood_bowl

Its utility is evident in the "Less is More" philosophy of the Great Teachers process. I internalized this concept during my first NC Great Teachers experience in 1997.

11

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

 

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

 

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

 

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

 

SOURCE: http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html

Another Chapter 11 Translation...

 
Thirty spokes join in one hub
In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle
 
Mix clay to create a container
In its emptiness, there is the function of a container
 
Cut open doors and windows to create a room
In its emptiness, there is the function of a room
 
Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit
That which is empty is used to create functionality
 
SOURCE: http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm