Emptiness in Tea Practice

When a friend who’s a longtime Buddhist meditation teacher asked me recently if “emptiness” comes into our study and practice of chado, the Japanese way of tea, I didn’t quite know how to answer. On Talking Tea we had chatted a bit about emptiness in a Daoist context, and its relation to tea, in our episode Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections, and we touched on some of the connections between tea and Buddhism in a few of our earlier episodes. But I hadn’t thought about how, or if, emptiness comes into play in the specific practices of the Japanese way of tea.

To explore this question further, we asked Drew Hanson, an instructor in the Urasenke school of chado and founder/owner of the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House in New Jersey, to join us again on Talking Tea. (Drew was our guest in two earlier Talking Tea episodes, Tea, Heart to Heart and Chabana: Flowers for Tea.) 

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The Korean Way of Tea, with Brother Anthony of Taizé

Jirisan, a historic tea growing region in South Korea

For quite some time we’ve been wanting to explore Korean tea culture on Talking Tea, so we’re very happy to be joined in this episode by Brother Anthony of Taizé, a prolific writer, translator and teacher and co-author of two notable books on Korean tea, The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics.   

Read the full show notes

Chabana: Flowers for Tea

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As December comes to a close and winter deepens here in the northern hemisphere, we’re continuing our turn inward as we conclude our two-part series on the spirit of tea as reflected in chado, the Japanese way of tea. Today we’re focusing on chabana, the art of flowers so integral to Japanese tea ceremony.  Read the full show notes

Okakura and the Spirit of Tea

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We’re getting a bit contemplative this time of year here at Talking Tea, as the weather turns cooler and our bodies and minds begin to turn inward. So this December we’re offering two episodes exploring the spirit of tea as reflected in chado, the Japanese way of tea. To kick off this two-part series we’re looking at the life, work and influence of Kakuzo Okakura (pictured above), best known for his modern classic The Book of Tea.  Read the full show notes

Glimpsing Tea’s Past, Finding Tea’s Presence, at New York’s Floating Mountain

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Today on Talking Tea we’re witnessing tea history brought into the present at the serenely beautiful Floating Mountain teahouse in New York City, where ongoing programs on tea history and tea meditation are opening fresh perspectives on tea preparation and on tea as a contemplative practice.   Read the full show notes

Tea, Heart to Heart

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This week on Talking Tea we return to the Tea Institute at Penn State University to explore the evolution and burgeoning growth of interest in Japanese tea ceremony study at the Institute and beyond, and the transformative nature of tea ceremony practice. We first chat with Drew Hanson, founding instructor of the Urasenke program at the Institute. Drew talks with us about his own journey from art to tea, the history and development of the Japanese track at the Institute, and changing demographics and perspectives among students of Japanese tea ceremony.  Read the full show notes

New Visions in Japanese Tea

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If you’ve listened to our Talkin’ Matcha episodes you’ll recognize the name of Tyas Huybrechts. Tyas has been a blogger and tea ceremony instructor based in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan, and we’re delighted to welcome Tyas back to Talking Tea to chat about his new venture, The Tea Crane, a company focused on chemical-free Japanese tea.  Read the full show notes

Tea Goes to College

An institute dedicated to intensive, interdisciplinary tea education and research is not something you’ll typically see at a college or university in North America – or anywhere else, for that matter. But it’s exactly what you’ll find at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, where an initiative originally undertaken by students has resulted in the groundbreaking, university-funded Tea Institute at Penn State.  Read the full show notes

Tea Culture/Youth Culture

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This week on Talking Tea we look at the growing popularity of tea and tea culture among youth and teens. Chatting with us (via Skype) is Connor Adlam of Tching.com, the well-known blog and online forum for tea information.   Read the full show notes

Tea, Zen, Awareness

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.  Read the full show notes