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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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

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 & Relational Culture: What’s Tea Got to Do With It?

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One of the things we hear over and over again from people in the tea world is how so many great relationships have been created and nurtured through tea. But what is it in tea culture that’s so good at bringing us together?  Read the full show notes

The Qi of Tea: Tea’s Healing and Spiritual Qualities

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You might think we’re having an identity crisis this week on Talking Tea, since our host and guest on this week’s podcast share the same name. In this week’s show our host and producer Ken Cohen chats with renowned qigong master and author Ken Cohen, who also writes and lectures extensively about the health benefits of tea. 

Ken shares his personal tea journey with us, talks about both the health benefits and the spiritual benefits of tea from the perspectives of Western science and traditional Chinese medicine, discusses how our connection with nature and poetry influences our enjoyment of tea, and explains how the intention, heart and spirit we bring to the preparation and drinking of tea change not only our experience of tea, but also our relationship with the world.   Read the full show notes