DDM Global News

A Cup of Tea In Mindfulness

On November 13, CMC hosted Tea Meditation in-person, led by Venerable Chang Zhai, with nearly 30 participants. Tea sets were neatly displayed on simple and unsophisticated tea tables embellished with seasonal pine cones and needles by volunteers, adding vitality to the elegance. 

During the event, Venerable Chang Zhai introduced the functions and usage of each piece of the tea set as well as the key elements of tea meditation. Venerable then guided everyone to settle the body and mind through sitting meditation. The participants washed, brewed, and tasted tea with gentle and orderly movements, giving full attention to each activity. Concentrating on each taste is essential. Participants were instructed to be clearly aware of everything while avoiding duality or attachment and to use the heart to experience the combination of tea and meditation.

Venerable Chang Zhai said even a piece of tea leaf contains everything. It's small but is not easily come by. The process of growing tea from seed to plant and then harvesting and processing them into tea leaves is inseparable from the cooperation of sunlight, rain, soil, and many other factors, as well as the support of workers from all walks of life. Therefore, we should brew and drink tea wholeheartedly as a way to express respect and gratitude.

All things are generated by causes and conditions, depending and complementing each other. When this contemplation is deeply rooted in our minds, we will naturally understand the interconnections between sentient beings and be willing to help those in need.

Venerable Chang Zhai encouraged everyone to incorporate clarity and awareness into each moment of life through constant practice. Only when the mind is stable and not disturbed can we see reality clearly and not be deceived. We should generate compassion and wisdom, and unite contemplation with action, and thereby be able to dissolve vexations and benefit sentient beings.

At the end of the event, everyone joined their palms respectfully and transferred the merits of practice to the Dharma Realm to bless all sentient beings. Participants said the environment was so quiet that they felt relaxed and enjoyed the tea with concentration. The sounds of boiling water and tea brewing seemed to wash away illusory minds. One participant shared that instead of feeling noisy, it helped her to focus more. The contemplations on emptiness, causes and conditions, and gratefulness were helpful reminders for daily life.

Dr. Peter Lin, a psychologist who has given talks and led meditation sessions at CMC for many years, invited his students to come and experience tea meditation together. Peter said that the tea tasted bitter but later tasted sweet. Each sip was a different experience, just like our lives. Every moment is unrepeatable and precious. Therefore, we should make good use of our precious time and cherish rare causes and conditions.

Article: Hang Yeung
Photos: Yin Ting