Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections


Today we’re exploring connections between tea and Daoism, the millenia-old Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that has had such a profound influence on culture and history in and beyond China. We’re joined by Robert Coons, who straddles both the tea world and the world of Daoism. Robert is a well-known tea vendor based in Canada and China and is also a writer, teacher and podcaster on Daoism, qigong and Daoist meditation.  

Robert tells us a little about his own journey from martial arts and other Daoist-related activities into tea culture, and then we delve into the relationship between Daoism and tea. We begin by looking at some of the definitions, history and relationships of some key practices in tea – chado or sado, chadao and gongfucha – and Robert gives us an overview of Daoism, its core elements, its history and its cultural forms. We explore references to tea in Daoist texts as well as concepts of energy, or qi, in Daoist medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, and Robert explains how both tea and meditation are seen as elixirs in Daoist tradition. We chat about the Daoist role of harmonious energy in chado, chadao and gongfucha, and we look at Daoist concepts of “action”, “non-action”, “action without action”, “knowing sufficiency” and emptiness, and how they can come into play in our tea practice. 

Robert is the author of Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Medititation, published by Tambuli Media and available on Amazon at this link

Info on Robert’s teas, as well as some of his classes and teachings, is at his websites, chayotea.com and daoistmeditiation.com. Also be sure to check out Robert’s new podcast Sinotexts, available on YouTube, and his older podcast, This Daoist Life, on Soundcloud.

Note about Robert’s classes: In the episode Robert mentions classes he holds in the Toronto area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, please check with Robert on the status of these classes. If you need to know how to contact Robert about his classes during the pandemic, reach out to us and we’ll do our best to put you in touch.

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.

Episode image “Teacup” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a . Adapted from original.

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