Taoist Temple Tea and Ceremony

July 19, 2017

Taoist Temple Tea and Ceremony

“Tea is the elixir of life.”
-Lao Tzu

Here is another excerpt from The Wild Tea Hunter – my book about my adventures hunting tea in China. In it, I go into detail about my experiences studying tea with Taoist masters at Taoist Monasteries.

Tea and Feng Shui

“I learned all about Taoist Temple tea and tea ceremony in Wuyishan in Fujian, China. I studied with a group of Taoists at a temple that grew their tea in accordance with Feng Shui principles.

Feng Shui is an ancient system of geomancy that uses the laws of heaven and earth to help improve one’s life. Many people in China use Fengshui principles to design houses, gardens and even office buildings. It is said that when parts Beijing such as Tiananmen Square were built, the architects used Feng Shui. The Chinese believe that good Feng Shui design can bring good luck, fortune or improve someone’s life.

Thus the energy of the Taoist temple was perfect for feng shui. They placed the tea garden in an energetic vortex section of the temple grounds. There was a river flowing in almost a semi-circle around it. The sun hit it perfectly. It was at the bottom of a huge mountain, which caught the energy flowing. Basically they had set this up so that is was on the receiving end of massive amounts of energy flowing from the river to the mountains to the whole energetic flow of the place.

Taoist Tea Ceremony

The Taoists 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 let all thoughts leave. Through tea you have a direct connection to nature. When you drink tea you should quiet the mind and be mindful.

 “What I learned from this is to allow the way you brew tea to become an expression of yourself.”

I met one Taoist who was meticulous with every action in the tea ceremony. His clothes were also very clean, and his hair was neatly kept. During another Taoist tea ceremony at a beautiful, ancient temple in the mountains, the monk who was doing tea ceremony was almost rough with the way he brewed tea. I noticed his hair was a uncombed, his clothes were not clean. He looked rough around the edges and the way he brewed tea was a reflection of him.

When you look at these two comparisons through this lens it is easy to judge their level of mastery. To judge their level of mastery of the Taoist teachings on this level would be shallow. In fact, the neat, clean kept Taoist lived a completely different life than the more grungy rough one. The clean one lived in a major city. The rough one lived by himself in a Taoist temple carved out of stone deep in the mountains of Wuyishan. Judging their level of mastery of the Taoist teachings would actually be wrong all together. Simply put, the way they brew tea is a reflection of themselves. This would be the Taoist way to look at it rather than judge.

Beyond our material veneers, what I learned from this is to allow the way you brew tea to become an expression of yourself.”

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