A lot of us tea drinkers don’t separate tea and meditation anymore. When a passionate tea drinker goes deeper, begins to establish a regular tea practice, the result is that the mind is getting calmer and sharper. The focus increases. Those who have integrated their own tea ritual into their morning routine might find their start of the day is accompanied by more strength and a general comfortable feeling.
I would love to share with you some wisdoms of buddha’s teachings that are helping me to open up my heart towards myself and the world around me and that can perfectly well be integrated into your own moments with tea. In his days buddha was teaching about the brahma vihara who are four virtues, often translated as the immeasurables or the four infinite minds. By name they are Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Upekkha. The four infinite minds can be developed and strengthened through meditation:
Metta- loving kindness: Among these four, Metta might be the most familiar term to you. In the Metta Meditation we focus on the love we carry in our own hearts and send it out to all other beings.
Sitting with tea: While preparing tea for ourselves and/or for other dear humans we can do it with all our heart by accumulating all our love. While pouring the hot liquor into the bowls we pour our heart into it and thereby share love and passion with those sitting around us and, further, to all others. Feel the love exponentiate.
Karuna- compassion: Karuna results from Metta. Through Metta we soften our heart and open it for everyone who is suffering or is going through hard times. Compassion is not to be confused with pity.
Sitting with tea: While feeling the tea warming our chest and heart, we can focus on the warm and soothing feeling that is released in us. We create a channel to those that may be near or far away and empathize with them by sending them a kind smile.
Mudita- sympathetic joy: Being joyful for others' happiness, even if we are not the source of this joy, is a beautiful quality we can develop within. Joy that we can anchor in ourselves.
Sitting with tea: First we can picture a dear person with whom it might be easy to experience the feeling of sympathetic joy. Capture this feeling and spread it as far as you possibly can. Try to go beyond your boundaries.
Upekkha- equanimity: Even-mindedness and serenity are closely bound to equanimity. It is the evenness of mind, the unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner balance that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain.
Sitting with tea: As you serve bowl after bowl, see every bowl as equal. Try not to compare one brew with the previous one. Through this attitude you refrain from judging and from reacting to your likes and dislikes. In the long run you distance yourself from clinging and aversion.
I wish you a wonderful tea practice with the four infinite minds. May you find peace and calmness within yourself.
source: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (Teachings of the Buddha)
photo taken by Katja Herold