Dharma Topic: Sharing Our Joy — Tea Ceremony

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday Evening, March 31, we will have a teaceremony after our meditation period.

The tea ceremony is a time for us to enjoy being with eachother, to share our mindful presence, and also to share our stories, poems,insights, pictures, appreciations, and songs. Whatever we share, we offer it asa gift to each other.

I will be bringing ginger tea for everyone. If you wouldlike, you can bring also fruit or a healthy snack to offer along with the tea.

Below is a short piece on the spirit of the tea ceremony,"Three Hours for a Cup of Tea," by Thich Nhat Hanh.

The best times to join us on a Thursday evening are justbefore 7 pm; at 7:25, at the beginning of walking meditation; and, at 7:35, atthe beginning of the second sitting. (To allow others to maintain concentrationand continuity, we ask that Thursday evening participants not enter during thewalking meditation.)

Bell Master Training
This Thursday, as well, we will have a Bell Master Training beginning at6:30 p.m. It is a time to learn (or review) the practice of inviting the bell,for yourself and for a community. No experience is necessary. As we have only ashort amount of time for the training, it would be appreciated if participantscould arrive a few minutes early so we can set up the room and start ourtraining right at 6:30.

Mindfulness in Olney/Brookeville/Sandy Spring/Ashton area
Eileen Poe Yamagata would like to begin a small mindfulness group somewherein the Olney, Brookeville, Sandy Spring, Ashton, area.. If you or someone youknow might be interested in getting together for meditation and sharing, pleasecontact her at epyamagata@impaqint.comor 301/570-2476.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner 
Senior Teacher

Three Hours for a Cup of Tea
(From Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun My Heart: From Mindfulness to InsightContemplation)

The secret of meditation is to be conscious of each secondof your existence and to keep the sun of awareness continually shining–in boththe physical and psychological realms, in all circumstances, on each thing thatarises. While drinking a cup of tea, our mind must be fully present in the actof drinking the tea. Drinking tea or coffee can be one of our daily pleasures ifwe partake of it fully. How much time do you set aside for one cup of tea? Incoffee shops in New York or Tokyo, people come in, order their coffee, drink itquickly, pay, and rush out to do something else. This takes a few minutes atmost. Often there is loud music playing, and your ears hear the music, your eyeswatch others gulping down their coffee, and your mind is thinking of what to donext. You can’t really call this drinking coffee.

Have you ever participated in a tea ceremony? It may taketwo or three hours just being together and drinking one or two cups of tea. Thetime is not spent talking–only being together and drinking tea. Perhaps youthink this is irresponsible because the participants are not worrying about theworld situation, but you must admit that people who spend their time this wayknow how to drink tea, know the pleasure of having tea with a friend.

Devoting two hours to a cup of tea is, I agree, a littleextreme. There are many other things to do: gardening, laundry, washing dishes,binding books, writing. Perhaps these other tasks are less pleasant thandrinking tea or walking in the hills, but if we do them in full awareness, wewill find them quite agreeable. Even washing the dishes after a big meal can bea joy.