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“Tea is liquid wisdom”

Posted in ආකල්ප,කාලීන by on March 16, 2013


Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~ Saki

I was born in a remote upcountry hospital and grew up within the reach of lush green tea trees. As such the aroma of boiling tea leaves always takes my mind back to my childhood. Perhaps this is the reason why I love black tea so much.

More often these days, I drink tea with no sugar at all. But when I ask a cup of black tea with no sugar, most of my friends can’t stop laughing at me. The first question often they ask is, “you got diabetes… yeah ?”

Although I say “no”, they don’t trust me. So I smile, simply because it is hard to explain them that for me, tea is not just a drink or a custom. It is an art. An art of everything.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~ Japanese Proverb

Some times I wonder that even though Sri Lanka is one of the best tea producers in the world why our fellow Sri Lankans are far, far away from becoming the best tea tasters in the world. Instead I’ve come across many of the best sugar and milk -powder tasters !

The above mentioned Japanese Proverb tells everything I find important about my cup of tea. Although we drink gallons and gallons of tea, we might not have “tea” within us. Do we ?

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~ Thich Nat Hahn

We talk about smoking and pointing out that those who smoke are as the slaves of the cigarettes. Like wise if one compare the smokers and the common tea drinkers these days, it is hard to find a difference among them. Smoking starts as a mere habit then becomes a necessity. In the same way now- a- days we drink tea just as a necessary habit. Don’t we ?

But read slowly, the wisdom Thich Nat Hahn tries to explain to us. A Cup of tea is a superior substance to cigarettes. And can be developed as a true experience with which to practice concentration. Whoever lives in the present moment is the Master of all.

And to do that you need to focus your mind into this moment. Drinking tea is a good activity to master that practice. It is not the amount of tea that one drinks that is important. It is all about bringing your mind into the present moment.

Lu Tung, in his book of “Tea-Drinking”, wrote “The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration – all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup – ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.

Some may think that Lu Tung talks about some kind of intoxicated feeling he experienced. But it is not always easy to convert one’s real experiences into words. Although it may lead to misinterpretation by others; what he mentions is true. The truth is, by living in the moment one can achieve a blissful state of mind. And There’s nothing wrong if one names it Elysium.

Therefore, tea is not just a drink. It can also be an experience. Also it is an art of understanding and realising. Each cup of tea takes you on a different ride. All we need to do is pay attention, from pouring water in to the kettle to sipping the last tea drop.

As soon as we hear the melody of the kettle we become more and more silent. Silence gives everything including wisdom.

As an anonymous saying proclaims, “Tea is liquid wisdom”.

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