Tea and Spirituality: Ayurveda and Tea

 

ayurveda and tea Tea and Spirituality: Ayurveda and Tea

Ayurveda and Tea

 

Ayurveda is the complete knowledge for long life; it originated in India during the Vedic Period (somewhere in the second millennium B. C.).  The word is derived from two Sanskrit words: āyus which means “longevity” and veda which means “science” or “knowledge.”  It is still prevalent today as a form of alternative medicine.

Ayurveda involves a lifestyle revolving around meditation, exercise, massage, dietary recommendations and daily and seasonal disciplines.  In Ayurveda, the physical and mental health of a person is controlled by three Doshas or energies (Vata, Pitta and Kapha).  Any illness that affects a person is the cause of an imbalance between these three Doshas.  One way that Ayurveda deals with these illnesses is through…you guess it….tea!  Ayurveda teas are specially mixed with difference herbs and fruits that can aid in memory retention to digestion.  These formulas are created to help fix the imbalances caused by everyday living.

Another way of looking at Ayurveda is through an old legend.  During the Vedic period, humans had spent most of their time and energies in deep meditation, only subsisting on the prana (vital energy) of sunlight and breath.   One day a piece of tar fell from the sky.   A curious bystander ate it and became seriously ill as well as indigestion.  Lord Brahma administered hot water to his patient as a cure.  All was good.  The moral of this story is that hot water gets the energy moving faster.  Thus drinking hot tea gets things flowing!

Sounds cool, no?  Mind you, there is no scientific study that backs this form of healthcare as a sure way to cure your ailments; it should not be a replacement for proven healthcare.  However, tea is still good for you so drink up!

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Tea and Spirituality: Tea and Buddhism

 

tea and buddhism Tea and Spirituality: Tea and Buddhism

Tea and Buddhism

 

When Buddhism was brought to China during the Han Dynasty (206 B. C. to 220 A. D.), it was to be an explanation of human life.  Buddhism believes that the point of human life is to search for suffering, since it is considered an inevitable process.  If a Buddhist can come to terms with that thought, then the suffering is really no longer suffering.  Buddhists are not allowed to eat meat or fish; their diet merely consists of vegetables, rice and wheat products.  Tea is allowed in their diet because technically tea is a vegetable.  Tea is also beneficial to Buddhists while they meditate because the caffeine keeps them awake.

Looking at tea from a metaphorical standpoint, the Buddhists believe that the leaves’ bitter taste is symbolic of life’s suffering while the clear liquid is symbolic to the monastery rule of self-discipline and calm.

Some compare the importance of tea in Buddhism to the importance of wine in Catholicism.  Both beverages became crucial in their rituals and the faithful also showed their devotion in the consumption of the beverage.  Catholic monasteries became the epicenters for growing grapes and making wine while the Buddhist monasteries were for growing tea leaves and the ever growing sophistication of making tea.  Even the creation of champagne by the monk Dom Perignon is synonymous to the monks’ creation of white tea, green tea and oolong tea.

To a Buddhist, tea is more than just a beverage for their physical bodies.  Tea is also part of the ritual in meditation, to ready the spirit for its journey and its return.  This aspect of Buddhism developed further, becoming its own spiritual practice, until it became its own Way (or Path) to Enlightenment.   Lu Yu, the author of the first recorded book on tea, was the first secular priest on what is known as the Way of Tea.

Until I wrote this article, it never occurred to me how beverages could be such a crucial part of one’s religion.  It makes sense and also makes me love the beverage even more.  What you all think, dear readers?

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Tea and Spirituality: Tea and Meditation

 

tea and meditation Tea and Spirituality: Tea and Meditation

Tea and Meditation

 

In today’s world of instant gratification, it is easy to get wrapped up in the stress of it all.  At the end of the day, I love to sit on my couch with a nice cup of tea and unwind.  But you can take it one step further if you want to take time for yourself and completely unwind.  You can try meditation along with your nice cup of tea.  A lot of people believe that these two activities are separate but in fact can join together.  Meditation is not just the act of sitting in lotus position while chanting OM.  It is actually about relaxing your mind and rejuvenating your soul.  You can actually do this at any time with whatever activity you can derive joy out of.  You can meditate while walking in a park, some unknowingly do so while washing the dishes and some find they can meditate while they enjoy their tea.

One way of meditating with tea is to simply start with making the tea.  Take your time and choose your favorite tea (loose leaf is the more popular because it allows for more aromas and flavors to be released).  Once the tea is ready, sit down in whatever position is comfortable and hold the cup between your hands or against your chest.  Hold it in whatever position that allows you to feel the warmth of the tea as it transfers from the tea itself to your body.  Let it absorb into your very core; in fact, such visualization is customary in meditation.  Then whenever you are ready, take that first sip of tea and enjoy the colorful flavors.  Take your time and repeat.  See?  It’s very easy, no?

I found a fascinating and short video from Dahn Yoga that leads you step by step into Tea Meditation for those interested in trying this out.  I know I will.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X0IztVagww

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Tea and Spirituality: Leaf Reading in the Far East

 

reading tea leaves Tea and Spirituality: Leaf Reading in the Far East

Reading the Leaves

 

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy and tassology) – the reading and divination of one’s future through the reading of tea or coffee remnants in a cup.  The word comes from the French word tasse (cup) which is a cognate of the Arabic word tassa (cup or goblet).  While the suffixes are from the Greek words –graphy (writing), -mancy (divination) and -ology (the study of).

For as long as tea has been around in ancient China, so has the art of leaf reading.  It is said to have started in 2737 B.C. when Buddhist sages began to interpret the patterns that formed at the bottom of their tea cups.

Tea has been an integral part of daily life in the Chinese culture.  It seems only logical that part of the culture including trying to foretell the future with the remnants of their own drunken tea.  The practice originated in China and was spread west in the seventeenth century as Dutch traders brought tea via the trade routes.

It is said by some that Spring Pouchong tea (Chinese;pinyinBāozhòngchá) is popular.  There is a big of a debate as to which type of tea should be used in tasseomancy.  Some believe that the small fannings (or tea dust) found in tea bag is too fine to create the necessary symbols to be read through tasseomancy.  On the other hand there are those that prefer to use the tea bag because the fannings are capable of creating more detailed images.  You decide for yourself, dear readers.

Why do you think, dear readers? Would you like to try your hand at tasseography or tasseomancy?   I have found a great site with symbols in order to try your hand at tasseomancy.

http://www.tasseography.com/symbol.htm

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Tea and Spirituality: Fal – Leaf Reading in the Middle East

 

Minttea Tea and Spirituality: Fal   Leaf Reading in the Middle East

Morrocan Tea Pouring

 

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy and tassology) – the reading and divination of one’s future through the reading of tea or coffee remnants in a cup.  The word comes from the French word tasse (cup) which is a cognate of the Arabic word tassa (cup or goblet).  While the suffixes are from the Greek words –graphy (writing), -mancy (divination) and -ology (the study of).

In the Middle East, this tradition is known as “fal.”  While tea leaves are utilized in the divination of the future, it is more popular to use Turkish coffee and the ground remnants in order to tell the future.  Even though the coffee grinds are preferred to tea, the process is still the same between the two.

4336663797 ef67f8943c Tea and Spirituality: Fal   Leaf Reading in the Middle East

Hopsitali..tea! Saudi Arabia

The drinker must drink all the liquid until there are only the grinds or the tea leaves.  Then the cup must be covered by a saucer, turned upside down and the turned to face the person whose fortune will be told.  This allows the remnants of the tea or coffee to swirl and settle at the bottom of the cup.   There are some fortune tellers out there that ask that the cup be turned clockwise three times before the cup is covered by the saucer; however that is not always necessary.

It is customary that the reading was performed by a clairvoyant or a fortune teller.  No one should read their own fortune.  The cups used in this tradition are white to represent good and positive.  This was used to be in contrast to the dark grinds which represented bad and negative.

Why do you think, dear readers? Would you like to try your hand at tasseography or tasseomancy?   I have found a great site with symbols in order to try your hand at tasseomancy.

http://www.tasseography.com/symbol.htm

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