What attending a Zen Tea Ceremony taught a Yoga student

abundant.earth zen tea ceremony
wu & sam Zen tea ceremony
Wu De & Sam serving up Zen wisdom at the Cha Dao ceremony in the Yurt @ Mountain Spirit Retreat, lake Hawe

Wu De and his disciple Sam, from Tea Sage Hut are  unassuming  Zen Monks.   Mandala beads, beards & Wu’s traditional Chinese clothing,   are hints that they are somehow of the world, but not in it.   Upon meeting them, there is a clarity and warmth which conveys a rich and deep connection to truth, embodied through their daily Zen practice of taking  organic, sustainable harvested tea from the  ancient tea trees of China & Taiwan.

As a spiritual student that  uses the breath & body as a vessel to explore  connection to the divine,  the use of tea for the same reason , intrigued me.  I was eager to experience  for myself the art of taking tea, not only as a carrier for consciousness, but as  medicine.

abundant.earth zen tea ceremony
Sharing an evening Meal together

Wu  De is a Zen monk, yet he dives into the  plant medicine realm like a   Shaman,  in his matter of fact approach he shares  “That tea is medicine, with the right participation, it will change your life“.  He speaks as one that knows, like all Zen teaching, a  simple statement that transmits  profound truth, left to  the student to unpack.

As the evening progresses’ I  learn,  just how influential Tea has been  & continues to be, not only in Chinese culture, but as an integral part of Buddhist & Zen spiritual practice. As the tea is  served, Wu & Sam  skillfully guide our circle into the art of listening & receiving, I feel   peaceful & reflective. We are encouraged to drink more tea, I watch as Sam moves with a  gracious humility around our circle, filling our bowls with tea, I tune into the  subtle nuances which define Cha Dao as a sacred ceremony;  refined, easily overlooked.

As a spiritual student of the Yoga path, it occurs to me that in our complicated modern world  the living wisdom that is Zen tea ceremony leaves little room for manipulation & misinterpretation,  thus  it will call  only to the serious seeker.

sam & amanda
Sam sharing stories before the ceremony

The gracious practice of Cha Dao guided by its living principles of serving, giving  & sacrifice  allows no space for reduction of knowledge, such as my expereience with elements of  Westernised Yoga. In the practice of Cha Dao,  tea  is the living Deva. The one that illuminates the path,   tea has no ego, therefore it is free from the delusion of the  esteemed ego or personality often disguised among many spiritual teachers.

Wu speaks of the need to bring ceremony & ritual back into our lives, this being the  very point of Cha Dao.  He laments that if the West were to embrace ritual, Western culture and the complexities of capitalism would be much different. As our ceremony comes to a close Wu extends a challenge to our circle, asking us to think deeply about what we consume, why we consume & before we consume: anything. He invites us to embed ritual into our everyday routine and explore the sacred in all things.

The  living wisdom  of the tea ceremony, like all Ancient Sages  imbibes the greatest truth  shared along the path:  that reality is all-inclusive, that Human existence is an integral part of nature not separate from it, that Tea like all aspects of creation is our TEA – CHER.

 

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