Unlearning is the key to a whole lot of learning


A great man once said, ‘Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out’.

Here is an interesting parable from Zen Buddhism. ‘The master Nan-in had a learned visitor who came to inquire about Zen. But the visitor kept talking about his own ideas with the knowledge acquired from the past. After a while, Nan-in served tea. He poured tea into his visitor’s cup until it was full, then he kept on pouring. Finally the visitor could not restrain himself. “Don’t you see it’s full?” he said. “You can’t get any more in!” This is the point, Nan replied. “Like this cup, you are filled with your own ideas. How can you expect me to give you Zen unless you offer me an empty cup?”

Unless you unlearn constantly, your cup will be full of your own ideas picked up from the past and springing from your own thoughts. How can fill your cup with new wisdom? Some ideas and thoughts have to be banished, some refuted for new seeds to sprout and blossom. One day these flowers too will wither and new shall see sunshine. That is the essence of transforming knowledge into wisdom.

Learning something new is not easy, but letting go of something which you have already learnt, termed as ‘Unlearning’ is even harder. Often people think that what worked in the past, will work in present and future as well. That’s no always the case. New ideas can only be originated when you flush out the old ones. This is how things works now and this is how unlearning can lead to a whole lot of new learning and which eventually lead to success and riches.


4 thoughts on “Unlearning is the key to a whole lot of learning

  1. This is so inspiring. Until you actually try to unlearn something you can never really know how hard it is. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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