We’re releasing this episode in between the Western new year and the Asian lunar new year, and we took this opportunity to quiet our minds, turn inward a bit, and look again at tea as a contemplative practice. Chatting with us in this exploration is Ven. Hyeonmin Prajna, a Zen teacher in the Five Mountain Zen Order based in New York City, and a student and practitioner of Japanese tea ceremony in the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai school of tea.
The history of tea culture is so intertwined with Zen Buddhism that it seemed natural to ask a Zen teacher to give us some perspectives on the practice of tea, and we talk with Hyeonmin about the essence of Zen and how to apply Zen ideals to both tea ceremony and casual tea drinking. Hyeonmin sheds light on how the Japanese tea ceremony in particular reflects some of those ideals, gives us suggestions on applying these principles to everyday tea and everyday life, and discusses how all tea culture can, from a Zen perspective, expand our awareness and help us “correct the mind and the heart”.
More info on Five Mountain Zen in New York City can be found at zen-nyc.info and on Ven. Hyeonmin Prajna’s Facebook page. To learn about tea ceremony programs in New York City in the Dai Hihon Chado Gakkai tradition, go to http://www.tea-whisk.com.
Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.
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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.