Tea as Daoist Meditation, with Robert Coons

After nearly a year hiatus from releasing new episodes, and nearing what’s hopefully the end of a worldwide pandemic, we’re very happy to welcome back Robert Coons to talk with us about tea as a medium for meditation and health, from a Daoist viewpoint. Robert is a well-known teacher and writer on Daoist meditation, a tea vendor, an acupuncturist and practitioner of qigong and martial arts,  and was our guest two years ago in our episode “Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections”. He’s about to launch an online course on tea meditation, so we took this opportunity to get an overview of Robert’s perspectives on tea as a meditation practice.

We begin looking at the origins of tea as herbal medicine in China and possible historical roots for tea meditation, and we also look at tea meditation as a novel practice built on older influences. Robert chats with us about how our setting and intention in preparing, serving and drinking tea can lead to the generation and movement of qi, or energy,  and we discuss the roles mindfulness, physical movement and tactile sensations, as well as our choices of tea, play in this process. We talk about why tea meditation is gaining a lot of attention at this moment, how tea fits in with goals of opening the mind and improving health and longevity, and why tea can serve as a gateway for deeper levels of meditation practice. Robert also gives us a peek at his new “Tea Mastery” course and how it will be part of a broader platform for tea meditation and self-care resources.

For more info on Robert’s upcoming course, go to the Tea Mastery page on Robert’s Qigong Meditation website (https://courses.qigongmeditation.online/tea-mastery-course), and be sure to subscribe to the email list for updates and registration info.

Robert’s other online platform for qigong and traditional Chinese medicine resources, mentioned in the episode, is https://tcmsix.com/.

Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Meditation is available on Amazon at this link

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.

Image of Robert Coons courtesy of Robert Coons.

The Korean Way of Tea, with Brother Anthony of Taizé

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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.   

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Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections

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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.   Read the full show notes

Sensory Immersion Into Tea

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In this episode we’re at the 2020 Toronto Tea Festival and its kick-off event, Kevin Gascoyne’s Rare Tea Tasting. Kevin is an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the tea industry,  a co-owner of the Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis Teahouse and a frequent guest on Talking Tea, and this is just the second time Kevin has presented a tasting in this format.  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

Focusing on Taste

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Today on Talking Tea we focus on the nuances of flavor, and how to fully appreciate the taste of tea by engaging all of our senses. Guiding us through this exploration of tasting is Billy Dietz, a tea development specialist based in Montreal. We chat with Billy via Skype as he shares a little of his own remarkable tea journey and then takes us through two methods of preparing a tea he selected for this episode, a Muzha Tie Kwan Yin oolong from Taiwan provided by Naivetea.
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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

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

Crafting Tea and the Good Life

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On our pre-holiday episode of Talking Tea we chat with Andy Hayes, founder and tea maker at Plum Deluxe, a tea blender based in Portland, Oregon. Andy talks with us about his mission to help people slow down and craft a life they really enjoy, and how this goal, combined with Andy’s views on the importance of organic teas and his experiences of European tea traditions, influences his blending process. 
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