Friday, 06 November 2020 09:50

Tea Chan Q & A

Tea Chan Q & A

Student: Master, I’ve been hoping to get involved in your Dharma activity with my expertise in tea ceremony. How can I combine tea and Chan for practice?

Tea Chan Q & A Master Hsin Tao: The key is calmness. It is a serene approach from inside-out. Whether you’re picking up flowers, handling tea, or anything, be sure to stay composed serene with each movement. By “serenity”, it implies to “immovability”. Following that, comfort and ease will follow. “Ease” doesn’t mean that your limbs can move freely but a relaxed state. What is relaxation? The calmness free from pressures. When one is calm, many afflictions and conceptual fabrications will shed away naturally. “Ease” is about letting of conceptions and fabrications – be natural. Be mindful of another kind of “ease” that is purposely manipulated. That would not be the real ease. Likewise,Chan is to let go of conceptions and fabrications for the true freedom.

Tea Chan Q & A Master Hsin Tao: By “serenity”, we’re also referring to Chan or single pointedness. Do not complicate things like language and actions. Before tasting the tea, we’d smell it then drink it. When doing so, all the actions are smooth and quiet. Stay focused with every detail. Be mindful of one action shifting to another. Just feel and be present.

This has nothing to do with how intricate the procedure is. Then what is the point? To apply single pointedness from the beginning to the end. Fancy tricks do not make up tea Chan. We should apply serenity and calmness from the start to end. That way, the spirit and essence remains the same regardless of the actions we take.

Extended reading
The Face of Chan
The Peace of Folding Palms