The Taoist tea ceremony focuses on the harmony between nature and human. This is the philosophy of Tao. As you drink, your mind should have a connection with the natural spirit. When you sit in meditation, let all thoughts leave.
Through tea, you have a direct connection to nature. When you drink tea, you are literally drinking generations of natural wonder; sometimes – and always if you’re drinking our teas – you might be drinking hundreds of years of forests and valleys and mountains.
Therefore, when drinking tea, you should learn to quiet your thoughts, be mindful and be in the moment, lest you miss not the forest for the tree, but the “forests in the leaves.” (See what I did there?)
I met a Taoist who was meticulous in every step he took as part of the tea ceremony. His clothes were always very clean, and his hair was neatly kept. Yet, at another Taoist tea ceremony in a beautiful, ancient temple lodged in the mountains, the monk who was the tea master was abrupt and crude in his motions. I noticed his hair was uncombed, and his clothes were scruffy. He looked rough around the edges and the way he brewed tea mirrored that aspect of his personality.
Taoist Tea Master
If you were to judge their level of mastery of Taoist teachings based on their looks and demeanor during the tea ceremony, you would assume that the unkempt Taoist was not nearly as well advanced as the other. Yet, this would be a shallow and erroneous judgment. While their lives couldn’t be more different, the clean, meticulous Taoist lived in a major city, but the one who was rough and shabby chose a reclusive life, more in keeping with Taoist fundamentals. He lived by himself in a Taoist temple carved out of stone, deep in the mountains of Wuyishan. (You can see him in a video we took here) Simply put, the way they brewed tea was just a reflection of who they were, nothing more, nothing less. The Taoist way is to look and accept, rather than to look and judge.
My lesson? What I learned from these two encounters is that you should allow the way you brew tea to become an expression of your Self. And do so in the moment, with full acceptance, and non-judgmentally.
Try some of these teas that the Taoists I know in Wuyishan drink frequently: