Is tea a spiritual activity for you?

Is tea a spiritual activity for you?

Yes
15
42%
No
21
58%
 
Total votes: 36
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Victoria
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:19 pm

Baisao wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:36 am
“Dharma Gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.”
Heartwarming to read your post @Baisao. A heart-mind connection opens for me when I’m quietly sitting still, paying attention to the simplicity of a tea session.
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bentz98125
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Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:53 am

rdl wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:04 pm
Bentz98125,
You wrote:
"So here it is: "spiritual" is any human endeavor that can sustain pleasure for people without harming themselves, others, or life on the planet. Easy in theory, not so in practice."
That seems to be so earth bound that I don't see any spirit in your definition.
Oddly, the most mundane circumstances are part and parcel of some of life's most important features. We wait in line at the supermarket for food, stuck in waiting rooms for healthcare, remain in the quiet next to a child falling asleep. If those moments weren't created for spiritual practice, for transcending the corporal, I would very much like to know what purpose they serve. But they elevate, not condition.
My assumption with tea, like the control of so many medicinal plants in medieval times, found in monastery gardens, is that its place in Buddhist temples and its powerful effects, brought it into the realm of the spiritual practice of the monks.
Yes, "earthbound" is an excellent word to describe my vision of "spiritual". What we describe as mundane is often not so much an accurate description of true meaning as failure of our perception. For example think about what imbibing any beverage never mind your favorite tea would mean at the end of two days of not drinking anything. Or think of memories signifying what departed loved ones mean to you. How many of those memories didn't seem important at the time they were made but only when 20/20 vision arrived at a later point in time? I've always been hostile towards mystical definitions of "spiritual". Not that they can't be interesting, inspiring or even therapeutic- afterall, the history of great artistic achievement is largely the story of mystical religious inspiration. But conquest and domination in human affairs so rarely occurs without some inspired "spiritual" rationale for the "inevitable destiny" of victor and vanquished. If "spirituality" means anything, morality demands it have clean hands and relevance requires it to be of this world.
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Baisao
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Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:40 pm

As an aside, since I spoke of my creed: my avatar photo is of Bodhidharma. Choosing this image is unrelated to my religious beliefs and is in no way virtue signaling. Everyone knows I am an asshole.

I chose the image because it looks like me yet cannot be used for facial recognition. I am intensely private about my public-facing biometric so I chose a photo that people who know me IRL would recognize.

This explanation has been long in coming.

My apologies for the digression.
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Elise
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:48 am

I was about to post an answer to this topic about zen in relation with tea while reading the last entries. I read the considerations by Baisao about tea and zen, and this whole discussion bring me the thought of how zen people explain (Or do not explain) zen. Zen is zen, and tea is tea. For me, spiritual tea is just tea with my spirit turned towards it... and this is really good and healing and peaceful moments for my body and my soul.
faj
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:12 am

Elise wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:48 am
For me, spiritual tea is just tea with my spirit turned towards it... and this is really good and healing and peaceful moments for my body and my soul.
Considering any activity spiritual is, it seems to me, entirely up to the individual. I do have moments where I drink tea that are peaceful with my attention turned to the tea, which I appreciate. I do not call that spiritual, but we may otherwise share a similar experience.
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Baisao
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:29 am

I think some of us find the word “spiritual” problematic, not the least of which because it implies the existence of a spirit. Buddhists reject the existence of a self separate from the body (atman/soul/spirit), so I was careful to discuss teas role in a religion, not as a spiritual activity.

While a cup of tea may lift my spirit, in the vernacular sense, I recognize that there is no spirit, in the proper sense.

I think other people may have problems with the word “spiritual” for connotative reasons associated with the word.

If this thread continues, I would like for people to feel comfortable expressing any value to their wellbeing they get from tea regardless of their religious beliefs or comfort with a sloppy word choice.

Cheers
faj
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:24 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:29 am
I think other people may have problems with the word “spiritual” for connotative reasons associated with the word.

If this thread continues, I would like for people to feel comfortable expressing any value to their wellbeing they get from tea regardless of their religious beliefs or comfort with a sloppy word choice.
I fully agree.

I will have to admit my entire lack of knowledge about Buddhism. I personally do not defend or reject the idea of a spirit, and I welcome anyone sharing their beliefs as long as there is no attempt to indoctrinate. To paraphrase Seinfeld, I am not religious... not that there is anything wrong with that.

To me, "spiritual" tends to be used in subtly different ways, as it may for instance be used by religious people trying to refer to religious ideas with less up-front language, or by non-religious people trying to convey the idea that the absence of religious beliefs does not mean the denial of all forms of inner life. It may seem like an attempt to find common ground, but it is shaky ground.
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Tillerman
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:12 pm

Baisao wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:40 pm
Everyone knows I am an asshole.
But the acts of recognition and acceptance suggest that you are the right kind of asshole.
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Baisao
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:47 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:12 pm
Baisao wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:40 pm
Everyone knows I am an asshole.
But the acts of recognition and acceptance suggest that you are the right kind of asshole.
Thank you for the kind words, @Tillerman. My wife says I am the kindest asshole she’s met. I’ll take that.
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Baisao
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Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:57 pm

faj wrote: I will have to admit my entire lack of knowledge about Buddhism. I personally do not defend or reject the idea of a spirit, and I welcome anyone sharing their beliefs as long as there is no attempt to indoctrinate. To paraphrase Seinfeld, I am not religious... not that there is anything wrong with that.
Yep! No proselytizing here. I wouldn’t attempt to sway a person’s mind on religious matters even if I thought I could: true belief begins with doubt and is resolved from within.

In addition, you are bang-on about how “spiritual” is used in ways that make intentions less forthcoming. :-/
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bentz98125
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:20 am

Question for you 'spiritual' tea drinkers. While looking up the definition of the word "Chajin" (referred to in a Bok post on the Ode to Kyusu thread viewtopic.php?f=20&t=17&start=345), I encountered this reference to a tea related proverb (at: https://tching.com/2012/04/hello-chajin/):

"Maybe it is as simple as the ancient Japanese proverb that someone without tea in them is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. To chajin, this is the way (and the why) of tea."

Is/are any of you familiar with this proverb? As a tea lover I am predisposed to take it at face value and can hardly wait to assert its undeniable truth with the next non-tea drinker I meet, but among the tea drinking brethren/sisterhood I have to admit that's a pretty bold statement. Perhaps not suprising that it originated or at least is attributed to the tea culture of Japan. But seriously, does anyone know anything about this proverb (historical origin, philosophical context, or anything)?
Last edited by bentz98125 on Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tor
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:45 am

Maybe @John_B, the writer, can answer your question.
bentz98125 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:20 am
Question for you 'spiritual' tea drinkers. While looking up the definition of the word "Chajin" (referred to in a Bok post on the Ode to Kyusu thread viewtopic.php?f=20&t=17&start=345), I encountered this reference to a tea related proverb (at: https://tching.com/2012/04/hello-chajin/):

"Maybe it is as simple as the ancient Japanese proverb that someone without tea in them is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. To chajin, this is the way (and the why) of tea."

Is/are any of you familiar with this proverb? As a tea lover I am predisposed to take it at face value and can hardly wait to assert its undeniable truth with the next non-tea drinker I meet, but among the tea drinking brethren I have to admit that's a pretty bold statement. Perhaps not suprising that it originated or at least is attributed to the tea culture of Japan. But seriously, does anyone know anything about this proverb (historical origin, philosophical context, or anything)?
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bentz98125
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:51 am

Hope so. If so, I'll post it here!
(I think the writer is Guy Munsch. Didn't see his email but posted a request for more info. about the proverb in the comments below the article. Since he is a published tea and spirituality writer, I should be able to contact him eventually.)
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Baisao
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:58 pm

"Maybe it is as simple as the ancient Japanese proverb that someone without tea in them is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. To chajin, this is the way (and the why) of tea
There are two parts to the proverb.

The first part asserts that “ someone without tea in them is incapable of understanding truth and beauty”. Speaking as a Zen Buddhist, there are ten thousand ways to understand truth and beauty. Tea is not the only way. This is silliness masquerading as profundity. The kind of overstatement you might read from Sei Shōnagon.

The second part of the proverb states that to the Chajin, this is the way/why of tea. This may be true. For me it can be a gate, amount countless gates, to enter through. It doesn’t necessarily need to be formalized either. “Dharma Gates are boundless, I vow to enter them”. Sometimes I drink tea. Other times I drink tea.
Noonie
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:11 pm

I didn't recall this thread from earlier so I voted (yes) and thought I would contribute to the dialogue...

The term spiritual probably has different meanings to different people. But being mindful and looking inward is what I'm calling it. Tea isn't some stand-out activity for me where this is "the" time to be mindful. Instead, there are several activities I engage in, in my way, that are what I could call spiritual activities. Tea is definitely one of them, but it's not always a mindful experience. Sometimes I'm multi-tasking and tea is along for the ride. Other times, like when I'm in my backyard looking at the trees, listening to the birds (and not multi-tasking), I'm being mindful and that is an experience I associate with spiritual/mindfulness. Other activities that sometimes bring about this similar feeling include riding my bike, hiking or listening to certain genres of music.
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