To have the mind to enter this path is, indeed, to have an inherent teacher.
Today I started Chado, which means Way of Tea in Japanese, which promises to be less of a class and more of an experience, an exploration of a new philosophy of mind, a new art form. The thing that struck me was the intention with which Jennifer Gunji instructed the class. Her devotion to her practice, and desire for each of us to approach the matter with a similar level of respect and discipline was made clear. As one of the most popular classes on campus each student had made a significant effort to be there.
Chado is the traditional, highly intentional practice of preparing tea. Every element, the tools used, each movement, and the tea itself, were selected for specific reasons. Matcha tea is grown through a labor intensive, tedious process in a specific region of Japan. The utensils used to make the tea are individually selected to convey meaning and fit into the theme of that specific tea ceremony. There is a precise order of events that must occur when preparing the tea – from how you lift the ladle to fill your bowl with hot water to how you bow to the person next to you before finally drinking the prepared drink.
As someone who rarely stops multi-tasking, I am excited to participate in such a mindful process. To take time to pause, reflect, and drink tea.