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Friday, April 18, 2008

The Power of Tea.

Green spring day
Warm tea
Taste of Nirvana

-by They Call Him James Ure

That's my first haiku, does it fit the definition?

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world? Second only to life sustaining water and has long been connected with Buddhism, especially within Zen Buddhism with the Japanese tea ceremony.

There is so much symbolism and lessons to be learned with tea. The Way of Tea is expressed in four Japanese characters: Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility. These are all aspects of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. I mean no disrespect to the beautiful Japanese tea ceremony by not going into the honored details of the ceremony in-depth but I am not familiar enough with them to attempt to describe them in the manner they deserve. So instead, I would like to discuss my interpretations of these words from my own understanding.

The first character, harmony reminds me of the Buddhist teaching on interconnection/inter-being. We would not be able to enjoy tea without the sun and water/rain that helped grow the tea, nor without the human hands that cultivated and harvested the leaves.

In addition, without rich soil there would be no tea and then with fitting reunion, the water is returned to the plant in a hot form to steep and release the tea into our cups. The web of factors that enable us to enjoy our tea is endless.

For me, respect in regards to tea means honoring the plant for honoring my body with it's essence and health giving properties.

Purity makes me think of the clean water used to release the pure, natural chemicals within the tea. As well as feeling like the health-giving liquid is purifying my body with each sip. In addition, thinking of purity while drinking tea reminds me of the purifying nature of drinking in the Dharma which purifies the mind.

Tranquility. Savoring tea and the warmth of the cup enables great relaxation especially when done in quietude. Tea has long been known for its ability to relieve stress, relax the body/muscles and help induce peacefulness. Sipping tea in silence helps bring about greater tranquility and can be a type of meditation itself. Speaking of meditation, drinking tea is often a lovely way of reflecting after a formal meditation.

When we talk or listen to the mindless drone of the television while imbibing tea we often miss the full tranquility that those moments of drinking tea offer us. That being said, drinking tea under many circumstance can bring plenty of benefits as well. In keeping with this idea of tranquility, I discovered a lovely tea which has the relaxing ingredients of honey, vanilla and chamomile within it.

I discovered this delicious tea the other day while at my therapy appointment. My Psychologist always offers me either tea or water before settling into the session. This particular tea that she recommended that day is called honey vanilla chamomile and it's one of the most flavorful, enjoyable teas that I have ever had, within days I went out and bought a box. I keep the tea bag in the mug for a long time to really get the most flavor and I also stir in a little sugar. It's such a nice, relaxing treat in the mid-afternoon, in the evening, after meditating or whenever. If you like tea then I'd really recommend it, it's made by the American company Celestial Seasonings.

Enjoy your tea!

~Peace to all beings~

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7 comments:

Greenwoman said...

Lovely Post James. ((hugs))

They call him James Ure said...

Green Woman: Thanks friend.

Bowing....

Dr.Gray said...

I love tea as well. But you can do better than tea bags. Go out treat yourself to some loose leaf tea or matcha.

They call him James Ure said...

Dr. Gray:

I've tried loose leaf tea but found it too messy and difficult to master.

I guess I'm a bit on the lazy side when it comes to tea. Ha!!

japanese tea ceremony said...

Japanese green tea which is served during the tea ceremony in japan is made of Macha powdered green tea. People who practice the tea ceremony or teach it seem to be in extreme good health and grow older that people who drink it less. Since I've started practicing the Japanese tea ceremony I have caught less colds and feel healthier.
Great post!!

Kumaran Raman said...

Hey..
Nice lines. But, I thought Haikus must follow the syllable rule. Refer mine here http://itsteekays.blogspot.com/2008/11/chandrayaan-my-first-haiku_4712.html

What do you think.?

They call him James Ure said...

Kumaran:

Yeah this one is strictly a haiku because of the syllable structure.

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