For more than 500 years, Japanese culture has embraced the drinking of tea as a rich element of social, medicinal and spiritual practice. With strong links to Zen Buddhism
The Japanese Tea Ceremony captures all the elements of Japanese philosophy and artistic beauty, and interweaves four principles - harmony (with people and nature), respect (for others), purity (of heart and mind), and tranquility. It grew from the custom of Zen Buddhist monks drinking tea from a single bronze bowl in front of a statue of their founder, Bodhidharma, during their act of worship. Over the centuries, rituals gradually developed around the religious significance and the use and appreciation of the utensils needed for preparing and serving tea.(Jane Pettigrew).
The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is defined by the three realities that nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. Wabi-sabi recalls the freshness that accompanies rustic simplicity, quietness and ‘flawed beauty” (Taro Gold, Living Wabi-Sabi). Seen, for example, in the Japanese tea ceremony, the pottery items used are often rustic and simple-looking. On a more spiritual level, wabi-sabi indicates an attitude of quiet refinement “characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry” (Chanoyu: The Art of Tea).
A cup of tea enjoyed can be considered a gift. Now more than ever, I am painfully aware of how lucky I am to drink tea in a place of safe and calm. As my heart breaks for the victims in Japan, I am somewhat heartened to discover many tea companies who are working to provide much needed disaster relief for victims.
I’d like to share them with you (thanks to Tea Happiness, and Tea Pages blog for resources).
Ito En Tea Company
Will donate more than 1,000,000 bottles of water and tea as well as 1.2 million dollars to earthquake relief.
Will donate 40% to the Red Cross and searchdogfoundation.org.
East Pacific Tea
Will donate 25% of sales to the Red Cross.
Will donate 30% of sales through end of March.
The Tea Spot (boulder)
Will donate 25% of Japanese tea sales to Doctors Without Borders.
Will donate 20% of all online sales.
I drink my tea with gratitude and hope you’ll help by making a donation here: