This is one of my favorite tea stories. I send it along with my wishes for you for the holidays. May you receive all the blessings of tea – friendships, warmth, health, and the reasons and reminders to take time to live.

“Years ago in Vietnam, people used to take a small boat out into a lotus pond and put some tea leaves into an open lotus flower. The flower would close in the evening and perfume the tea during the night. In the early morning, when the dew was still on the leaves, you would return with your friends to collect the tea. On your boat was everything you needed: fresh water, a stove to heat it, teacups and a teapot. Then, in the beautiful light of the morning, you prepared the tea right there, enjoying the whole morning, drinking tea on the lotus pond. Nowadays you may have a lotus pond, but you do not have the time to look at it, let alone enjoy it in that way. A tea meditation is a remnant of these times when we used to spend two or three hours drinking a cup of tea. In Plum Village, we are fortunate to have tea ceremonies several times a month. We come together to enjoy a cup of tea, a cookie, and the company of others for about an hour and a half. In a serene, affectionate, and informal atmosphere, we share poems, songs, and stories. We need only two minutes to drink a cup of tea, but in taking time to be with others, we nourish mutual understanding and happiness.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh