NY Times article about beautiful tea

Ethan Kurland
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:33 am

treetime wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:35 am
...I am guessing that there are more men than women on this board. And I wonder if this assertive, dominant way of talking about tea that also happened in this thread - “It’s just this” - is reflective of something deeper.

.... But I am wondering if this message board forum has an unconscious tendency to “police” conversations that tend toward the feminine or spiritual.
treetime, Members are not discouraged from revealing their own gender; yet, many have posted for years without giving a clue. It is perhaps best that little thought goes to the gender of any particular member or post.

I don't notice a tendency to "police" conversations that tend toward the feminine or spiritual but confess I am not sensitive to tendencies. I will say that the administrators have done an excellent job of keeping us from getting into arguments about politics, religion, etc. that could hurt our discussion of tea & tea related matters. (I have had 1or 2 posts removed myself for going awry.)

I expect that almost every post & member, intends no harm. To me that is the main thing. If one knows a member is kind & looking for something positive in a post, such as shared light-hearted humor; or perhaps private humor, as he writes "It's just this," the member knows that he does not really know, that so much is subjective, & with all that is happening in the world, discussions here may be unimportant. (I have sent PMs to members when I think I have caught them playing the "ultimate judge" & we have had a laugh about it.)

Yet, teaforum is important. Some of us don't participate on any other forum. I hope that you post more & don't get discouraged & some day we can drink tea together in person. (I have done so with 5 members & then they were all males. it's time to get some balance.) Cheers
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pantry
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:21 am

Bok wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:47 pm

If you ask me tan wearing vest guys are probably worse, haha
I agree. Fake tan + vest is an awful combo :mrgreen:

@treetime I want to assure you that you’re not alone in feeling this way, but I don’t necessarily see gender policing on this forum. There are misinformation, bad judgements, obnoxiousness around here for sure—I just roll my eyes and go about my day when I see one :lol:

But I also agree with what @Ethan Kurland said, that the mods have done an excellent job. We all are here to learn and discuss. Take what you find useful with you, and leave the negativity behind.
Last edited by pantry on Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
faj
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:27 pm

pantry wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:21 am
There are misinformation, bad judgements, obnoxiousness around here for sure.
Those tend to be present whenever humans are involved.

There is a saying where I live that roughly translates to "if you are not worth a laugh, you are worth nothing". It has the twin meaning of "be thankful that you are important enough that people find you worth criticizing", and "don't take yourself so seriously that you feel threatened when people point out your flaws (because yes, you have some)".

I think we need to give each other a bit of wiggle room. Nurturing open, honest and inclusive discussions is hard because it is destroyed by both speech suppression or excess. TeaForum members come from very different horizons and cultures ; for many (including me) English is not our native language, and informal written communication is highly prone to misunderstandings to begin with, even before taking into account individual differences and varying social norms. Within reasonable community standards, we all want to feel accepted by others with our flaws, but making that work collectively only adds up if we accept others with theirs.
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Baisao
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:09 pm

faj wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:27 pm
I think we need to give each other a bit of wiggle room. Nurturing open, honest and inclusive discussions is hard because it is destroyed by both speech suppression or excess. TeaForum members come from very different horizons and cultures ; for many (including me) English is not our native language, and informal written communication is highly prone to misunderstandings to begin with, even before taking into account individual differences and varying social norms. Within reasonable community standards, we all want to feel accepted by others with our flaws, but making that work collectively only adds up if we accept others with theirs.
I agree with this sentiment. I am direct and feel that can be perceived as surly, despite having animus in my heart for no one here.

This is the only forum I participate in and have found it to be fair but also grounded.

I don’t participate in other forums because they‘ve become trashed with egos and filled with woo. It seems no one here cares about tachyon water or crystals in their tea. That’s nice. That sure got old on Facebook.

@treetime:

I don’t know about “gender police”. When I think of members who I follow it seems equally divided between male and female.

I often use tea for mindfulness exercises. I’m also mindful while washing dishes or raking leaves or preparing food, etc.

There are no elaborate preparations when I make tea. Watching me you would never know (nor should you!). There’s no essence of the unwashed sage: no fancy robes, fancy titles, ceremonies, rituals, incense, crystals, or exotic locations. Yet, I make tea and it is frequently intimate to me despite not making a beautiful photo essay.

Anyone who looks the part of an ascetic or spouts woo is probably a con even to themselves. They are best avoided.

If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him!
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Bok
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:30 pm

@Baisao I think grounded is a very good term to define what many of us here are in their view on tea.

I would not equal spirituality with feminine. I do not think being spiritual has anything to do with gender at all.

Many here seem to be more rational or scientific-minded in their tea practice as opposed to being spiritual. For me, evidence based discussions are less likely to stir controversy than spiritual ones.

Spiritual matters, by definition, lack evidence, so you have to believe them. Beliefs there are myriads of and it’s easy to descend into arguments. Rational and science-based matters on the other hand won’t change, no matter what you believe. So I prefer those in public discussions :)

Obviously, I am simplifying things here, but you catch my drift…
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Baisao
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:49 pm

@Bok - I agree of course.

It’s funny how you and I both feel that tea is tea, yet we approach it from different angles. There’s no contradiction in this.

I especially agree about dividing the world in grossly binary, obsolete terms. I asked my zafu if it was male or female. The cheeky cushion then asked me to smell it!
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hopeofdawn
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:51 pm

I read both articles and had much the same reaction as many members here, rolling my eyes at the pretentiousness of the names, the 'ritual', and so on, at least as depicted by the New York Times journalist. I came away thinking that these 'tea gurus' were certainly full of themselves ...

And then I read @treetime's post and it made me reflect on that reaction. Now I think that this article reflects more poorly on the journalist and their assumed audience then the folks being interviewed. Yes, the Orientalism and presumption of some kind of new age-y tradition is still winceworthy, but looking at the description of the event again, what I see is a group of people who love tea, who are getting together in a beautiful location, and sharing a spiritual/meditative moment that they find meaningful. Are they enjoying tea 'the right way'? Who are we to say? Are they truly having a spiritual epiphany, or just playacting at it to pretend it all has some semblance of meaning? How would anyone on this board know?

And as an aside, as a woman, I can understand this group wanting a female-only space where they can relax, and not have to be worried about being talked over or having a male participant try to assert some kind of presumed authority. Or even just be in attendance and judging them on how they look, what they say, or what they choose to do to occupy their time (much as this journalist did).

I guess I want to say thanks to @treetime for their post--it really made me re-evaluate and get off my high horse. If these folks are enjoying tea and not hurting anyone, then more power to them.
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StoneLadle
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:59 pm

It only hurts when we laugh at the article.

I sent it to various tea friends here in Malaysia and in Hong Kong. The responses were 100% consistent...
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