Buddhism Chan & Tea
While the cultivation and consumption of tea are supported in Buddhist temples, Chan Masters incorporate these practices with the philosophies of Buddhism and everyday life. Thus, the idea of the "unity of tea and Chan" emerges. What do Buddhism and tea have in common? It is an experience that we can only experience with the enjoyment of every drop. We must drink tea enjoying the simplicity of action, seeking the peace of mind, the purity of spirit by living in every moment. Tea contains Chan, while Chan is exercised through tea. Both are combined as one in harmony. They jointly promote the search for spiritual purification and elevation.
Undoubtedly, a key point in the philosophy of tea is to understand the laws of the universe and the philosophy of life. Chan requires meditation in order to attain enlightenment. Lu Yu , known for his contribution to tea culture, with his understanding of the five flavors of life (sour, bitter, sweet, hot and salty), used tea studies as a way to practice Chan. Inspired by Buddhism, he achieved enlightenment. In the masterpiece of the Classic of Tea, the tea etiquette goes beyond the art and culture of tea, which integrates the material with the spiritual harmony. Thus, we can see that Buddhism is not the only way to enlightenment. One can still achieve enlightenment with an ordinary mind. Chan's true meaning is revealed in such a "physical" state of mind.
As one respected Chan Teacher said, "The essence of drinking tea is in clearing the mind. The same goes for the essence of Chan." Tea can wash away the mistakes of the human mind and help people experience the world with a heart of Chan.It is the unity of Chan and tea that includes the quintessence of the philosophy of tea.
When practicing Buddhism, you need to start with an open mind. That is, be willing to try all the sour, sweet, bitter and spicy flavors of life. The tea you drink and taste is like practicing Chan. In this way, one can enjoy different flavors of life and embrace everything, just as Maitreya Buddha does. "With a big belly, he accepts everything in his stomach. He smiles at anyone."
Quality tea gives the enjoyment of life to anyone who tastes it. For those who are rich or poor, living in favorable or difficult conditions, the aroma and true color of tea remain the same. Life is like a cup of tea, so just enjoy a cup of Chan tea. I hope you understand the meaning of life. Amitoufo!