Tea has been an integral part of monastic life for centuries in Japan. Meditation with tea allows the mind to stay awake. This meditation with your tea practice allows for awareness to take root in one's mind as one enjoys the quality of the tea leaves, the tea utensils, and the space.
Mindful tea brewing brings forth the connection of the mind to the body's five senses including smell, taste, color, sound, and temperature. In the "Tea Meditation" session, the time for brewing tea and drinking is devoted to the presence.
“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” ― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living
Bring your attention to the kyusu teapot, the teapot that will be used to brew the tea. Notice the shape, color, and craftsmanship that went into the art that is in your hand.
Simply sit down and listen to the water boil. Notice your breathing as you sit there. Feel vapor filling the air from the water. Inhale and exhale as if each breath is cleansing your lungs and your mind.
Carefully, pour the tea leaves into the kyusu teapot. Take a moment to notice the aroma of the tea leaves. Focus on your breathing. When the temperature of the water is right, pour the water into the teapot. Notice how the tea leaves slowly open up. Observe the precious moment of the water bringing the leaves back to life.
Brew the tea to your desired length and carefully pour the tea into your cup, or yunomi. Listen to the sound as you pour the last drop of the tea. Hold the cup in your hand. How does it feel? What do you smell? What color is your tea? Take a sip. How does it taste?
Take a moment to appreciate the tea. Express your gratitude for everything that helped make your cup of tea a reality. If your mind begins to wander, think of three things you are grateful for right now. Savor the peace and relax into it.
Tea is said to be one of the simplest forms of meditation practices in Zen. Appreciating the tea utensils, enjoying the fragrance of the tea leaves, brewing with mindfulness, and tasting the tea are carried out in the practice. This mindful tea practice is only a guide to your meditation session.
The key is to open yourself to the spirit of being present and to come back to your senses whenever you have drifted into your thoughts. During the tea time ceremony, there is a special encounter between the drinker and the tea. Thus, in those moments are peace and happiness.
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