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Tea Meditation is a form of meditation while drinking tea. Tea Meditation can be practiced by everyone, of all ages, and of different cultural and political backgrounds. It is a method of engaging ourselves in silence contemplation. Essentially, during the tea meditation, one looks inwardly to see one's mind as it is, without any effort to interpret or judge. Whether our mind is pure or polluted, clear or confused, we only need to witness it. Once free from making judgment and blame, we'll spiritually be open, understand ourselves deeper, and become more receptive to embrace others and their points of view.
The Philosophy
Symbolic meaning of tea and tea cup
The cup symbolizes our body.
Tea symbolizes our mind.
Like a cup filled with tea, our mind can be filled with either random thoughts of a confused mind, or with the clear, unwavering focus of an enlightening mind.
The challenge is to recognize and accept both as they are and become aware of one’s inner states. Enlightening mind or the confused mind…..what will you see in a cup of tea?
The confused mind and the enlightening mind
Confused mind defined as a mental state filled with all random thoughts, images, sounds, and emotions that completely absorb one’s attention and cause one to lose self-awareness.
Enlightening mind is the open-mindedness, the mind that constantly stays open, uncluttered, unbounded, free, and clear. When the enlightening mind appears, one finds oneself at peace; unmoved by the ebb and flow of sensations, urges, thoughts, and worries in one’s daily lives. By practicing this enlightening mind, we will eventually unfold the Enlightened Mind, the non-dual mind. Non-dual mind transcend all forms, all conceptualization.
This state of non-duality is symbolized by the emptiness in the cup. In the tea meditation, regardless of what states of mind, either enlightening or confused, when we drink up the tea, we’ll see the emptiness in the cup, or metaphorically, see the true emptiness of the mind. The challenge is to see and experience this emptiness, instead of just see the empty cup.
The silent and disengaged, but yet very attentive mind in the drinking tea ceremony is particularly well-suited to the training of meditative awareness. As we go through the motion of drinking tea in the calm and relaxing space of the tea hall, we simply watch the states of mind arising within our awareness. The object of the awareness, either the confused mind or the enlightening mind, is not the focus; the awareness itself is.
Tea Meditation in a global context Tea meditation can help us see ourselves clearer and connect with our deep spirituality. In silence we can reflect inwardly to see our emotional blind spots and shadows. Then, by sharing that spiritual experience with other tea guests who have different cultural background with us, we can connect with them in the most humane way, transcending self-creating borders and man-made boundaries. Thus tea meditation is a means for cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution.