Is tea a spiritual activity for you?

Is tea a spiritual activity for you?

Yes
16
43%
No
21
57%
 
Total votes: 37
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TeaTotaling
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:17 pm

...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
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Tor
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:01 pm

:o Oops! Sorry. My bad. I saw John's photo next to the article so I thougt...

Sorry, @John_B
bentz98125 wrote:
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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Tor
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:14 pm

Speaking of which, just saw this one the other day.

"If the tea becomes real, we become real. When we are able to truly meet the tea, at that very moment we are truly alive." - Thich Nhat Hanh


https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 8401438031
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Baisao
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:24 pm

Tor wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:14 pm
Speaking of which, just saw this one the other day.

"If the tea becomes real, we become real. When we are able to truly meet the tea, at that very moment we are truly alive." - Thich Nhat Hanh


https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 8401438031
But it’s not just tea. It’s literally anything that can be sensed. Tea has as much merit in this as an autumn leaf or a maggot on a dead cat.
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Tor
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:46 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:24 pm
Tor wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:14 pm
Speaking of which, just saw this one the other day.

"If the tea becomes real, we become real. When we are able to truly meet the tea, at that very moment we are truly alive." - Thich Nhat Hanh


https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 8401438031
But it’s not just tea. It’s literally anything that can be sensed. Tea has as much merit in this as an autumn leaf or a maggot on a dead cat.
That is true. However, I also believe that there’s something in tea that makes Zen Buddhist often uses it as a ‘tool’. More often than, say, a maggot or a dead cat. :D

And since you’re Baisao, it’s tea probably because it’s easier to sell than cat soup. :D
faj
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:20 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:58 pm
This is silliness masquerading as profundity.
Nicely worded.

Limited as we are, there is so much that we ignore or believe to be true that isn't, that the best way to be profound might very well be to contemplate the depth of our own ignorance in silence. I should really write a book and start giving conferences to let everyone know that is the one true way.
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Baisao
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:55 pm

Tor wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:46 pm
Baisao wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:24 pm
Tor wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:14 pm
Speaking of which, just saw this one the other day.

"If the tea becomes real, we become real. When we are able to truly meet the tea, at that very moment we are truly alive." - Thich Nhat Hanh


https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 8401438031
But it’s not just tea. It’s literally anything that can be sensed. Tea has as much merit in this as an autumn leaf or a maggot on a dead cat.
That is true. However, I also believe that there’s something in tea that makes Zen Buddhist often uses it as a ‘tool’. More often than, say, a maggot or a dead cat. :D
I think just about anything is a Dharma Gate.

For me it was three stillborn kittens floating in a white porcelain toilet. Then a paradox while meditating deeply. It has also been the wind moving through tall grass on the prairie.

The first two happened within a week of each other, so I was primed by circumstance I guess, but the latter occurred because I spent a lot of time outside watching sunsets on the prairie and I was actively practicing zazen.

Like grass on the prairie, tea just happens to be around a lot of monks.

If you are drinking tea multiple times a day while practicing zazen, it’s inevitable that tea will feature prominently. The same would apply to any sensory activity.

To address your query about tea as a tool: long hours are involved while being a monk and some meditative exercises can be exhausting. Something that assists in alertness but isn’t intrusive is a boon for people who practice zazen, especially those who are monastics.

I am not a monk but most green teas assist me in being alert but not jittery. I am able to focus and tame my thoughts with green tea, whereas my thoughts are nearly uncontrollable after drinking unaged maocha.
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Tor
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Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:05 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:55 pm

I am not a monk but most green teas assist me in being alert but not jittery. I am able to focus and tame my thoughts with green tea, whereas my thoughts are nearly uncontrollable after drinking unaged maocha.
There you go. Greeen tea it is, not cat soup.
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bentz98125
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Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:18 am

Baisao wrote:
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.
The first part is what interests me. I apprecitate your Zen Buddhist perspective because your description of it matches my own sensibilies. But what intrigues me is the possiblility that somewhere, sometime there was or is a community of people for whom tea drinking was or is so important that they really did or do seriously believe tea monopolizes the true and the beautiful. Much as many in western civilization (and eastern too, I imagine) have felt literacy is a necessary precondition for a meaningful life. Or speaking a particular language, or being a member of a particular race, etc.. Imbuing tea with that level of importance strikes me as exotic and romantic. But of course on the other hand nothing kills pleasure in something quicker than taking it too seriously!
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Baisao
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Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:33 am

bentz98125 wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:18 am
The first part is what interests me. I apprecitate your Zen Buddhist perspective because your description of it matches my own sensibilies. But what intrigues me is the possiblility that somewhere, sometime there was or is a community of people for whom tea drinking was or is so important that they really did or do seriously believe tea monopolizes the true and the beautiful. Much as many in western civilization (and eastern too, I imagine) have felt literacy is a necessary precondition for a meaningful life. Or speaking a particular language, or being a member of a particular race, etc.. Imbuing tea with that level of importance strikes me as exotic and romantic. But of course on the other hand nothing kills pleasure in something quicker than taking it too seriously!
I don’t remember the period but people in the samurai class would have friendly competitions of tea tasting. Groups would develop a friendly rivalry and attempt to ascertain the region a tea was grown in, the host having procured teas from various locations. I assume this was matcha made from what we now call zairai. It was a festive activity. This is the same class of people who wrote poetry competitively and had incense identification contests. It all reminds me variously of games of chivalry and parlor games among upper class Europeans.
John_B
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Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:56 am

Always nice to be thought of, just not much in mentions to respond to. And the initial post question seems a little vague.

I personally don't separate out much of anything as a particularly spiritual activity. As I see that term used it separates parts of life that have some deeper and less defined meaning and context from all the rest.

Plenty of what we experience is tied to imperfectly defined meaning and less than clear context. A walk in the woods is a complex experience. Everyday exchanges with others are actually quite complicated, occurring on many levels at the same time.

I've been meditating a little for the past couple of months, taking up where I left off when I was ordained as a Buddhist monk over a decade ago. I suppose that's somewhat spiritual. I see it as practical though, just not clearly defined in terms of cause and effect, and even intention.

It's interesting how spending 20 minutes sitting and 20 minutes running (jogging) are so similar, even though physical activity is at the two extremes.

Tea is mostly just a beverage to me. But then to me if you add a lot of subtle, extra meaning to one beverage experience you also drain a bit from all the rest of life experience. It should all be maximally meaningful.

I must admit that I place a lot more meaning in the time spent with my kids than all the rest, even drinking tea.
JustinBlack
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Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:04 pm

According to the ancients, during the ‘tea ceremony’ people could find a deeper meaning within themselves.

Tea can trace back its origin to China and has accompanied its ancient civilization for about 5000 years. However, the most significant aspect of this tradition, built around this amazing plant, has been forgotten.

Nowadays, people don’t take their time to savor a cup of tea and connect with their spirituality. This is also because of how fast-paced modern life has become. People no longer have the time to sit still and devote their time to drink their tea slowly, while contemplating and reflecting on life.

The tradition of drinking tea, which was conceived by the ancients as a part of everyday life, was considered a way of nourishing and purifying the body on a deeper level. During the process of preparing tea, the mind is purified. While you enjoy it, appreciate the aroma, and drink it, wandering thoughts are restrained, friendships are strengthened, and manners and virtue are cultivated.

In addition to the spiritual benefits, drinking tea helps to calm oneself down and soothe the mind, which reconciles itself to ancient China’s life philosophy.

Now that you know about all of its benefits, how about stopping for a moment to reflect while enjoying a delicate cup of tea?
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Bok
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Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:42 pm

JustinBlack wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:04 pm
According to the ancients, during the ‘tea ceremony’ people could find a deeper meaning within themselves.

Tea can trace back its origin to China and has accompanied its ancient civilization for about 5000 years. However, the most significant aspect of this tradition, built around this amazing plant, has been forgotten.

Nowadays, people don’t take their time to savor a cup of tea and connect with their spirituality. This is also because of how fast-paced modern life has become. People no longer have the time to sit still and devote their time to drink their tea slowly, while contemplating and reflecting on life.

The tradition of drinking tea, which was conceived by the ancients as a part of everyday life, was considered a way of nourishing and purifying the body on a deeper level. During the process of preparing tea, the mind is purified. While you enjoy it, appreciate the aroma, and drink it, wandering thoughts are restrained, friendships are strengthened, and manners and virtue are cultivated.

In addition to the spiritual benefits, drinking tea helps to calm oneself down and soothe the mind, which reconciles itself to ancient China’s life philosophy.

Now that you know about all of its benefits, how about stopping for a moment to reflect while enjoying a delicate cup of tea?
I think this is romantic wishful thinking... and also rubbish, pardon my French. While it is a nice idea, the majority of people at all times had likely more urgent things to do than to contemplate over a cup of tea: survival, work hard to get the crops in, fight wars for their lords, just get on with their daily lives and probably too tired to think anything when they did not had to slave away. All the while their master were sipping decadently on a cup, prepared by their servants, whe were carrying the items up to the pavilion, making and keeping a fire going and so on.

This was never a daily activity by the ancient masses, but an elitist luxury as it mainly remains today(at least for the highest quality tea and tools). You know how much Wuyi Yancha cost back in those good old times? 3 times of what a lifetime servant was sold for! Definitely not an everyone’s drink…

Sorry, this kind of rose-tainted theories give
me the rashes...
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bentz98125
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Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:34 pm

Bok wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:42 pm
JustinBlack wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:04 pm
According to the ancients, during the ‘tea ceremony’ people could find a deeper meaning within themselves.

Tea can trace back its origin to China and has accompanied its ancient civilization for about 5000 years. However, the most significant aspect of this tradition, built around this amazing plant, has been forgotten.

Nowadays, people don’t take their time to savor a cup of tea and connect with their spirituality. This is also because of how fast-paced modern life has become. People no longer have the time to sit still and devote their time to drink their tea slowly, while contemplating and reflecting on life.

The tradition of drinking tea, which was conceived by the ancients as a part of everyday life, was considered a way of nourishing and purifying the body on a deeper level. During the process of preparing tea, the mind is purified. While you enjoy it, appreciate the aroma, and drink it, wandering thoughts are restrained, friendships are strengthened, and manners and virtue are cultivated.

In addition to the spiritual benefits, drinking tea helps to calm oneself down and soothe the mind, which reconciles itself to ancient China’s life philosophy.

Now that you know about all of its benefits, how about stopping for a moment to reflect while enjoying a delicate cup of tea?
I think this is romantic wishful thinking... and also rubbish, pardon my French. While it is a nice idea, the majority of people at all times had likely more urgent things to do than to contemplate over a cup of tea: survival, work hard to get the crops in, fight wars for their lords, just get on with their daily lives and probably too tired to think anything when they did not had to slave away. All the while their master were sipping decadently on a cup, prepared by their servants, whe were carrying the items up to the pavilion, making and keeping a fire going and so on.

This was never a daily activity by the ancient masses, but an elitist luxury as it mainly remains today(at least for the highest quality tea and tools). You know how much Wuyi Yancha cost back in those good old times? 3 times of what a lifetime servant was sold for! Definitely not an everyone’s drink…

Sorry, this kind of rose-tainted theories give
me the rashes...
Well said! 'Spirituality' often camoflages and rationalizes suffering. For 'have nots' seeking anesthesia or escape, it is reasonable to see short term relief as a spiritual blessing while tea as an effete indulgence. For prosperous 'haves' wrestling with the boredom that accompanies physical needs being met with little to no effort on their part, opiate addiction and raging alcoholism are deplorable vices while appreciating fine tea can be a wholesome, bordering on 'spiritual', prestige. Claims for the 'spirituality' of tea drinking should be restricted to those living a credibly ascetic lifestyle, if then. The rest of us are better off to check our privilege than preach 'spiritual' enlightenment through tea or anything else.
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Webley
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Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:46 am

When I prepare and brew tea I usually choose the tea I want and then decide how to. It can be different for each time. I like to choose the tea I want that suits me at that moment. Sometimes I want to get a Zen feeling and drink it while I meditate listening to my favorite mood music.
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