All liturgies are in truth consummation and proclamation of a state of being—making the invisible become visible on the physical level. We make altars to our own inner truths. Bowing to the Buddha, I bow to awakening and stillness in me. I learn humility before the Divinity in me, and then begin to learn from the wisdom of those people, places and things which surround me. Daily prayer and contemplation compliment my meditation and tea, as does academic study of inspirations of masters past and present—for in their words I find the maps to my truths, as well as the words and ways I’ll need in order to articulate my experience, strength and hope to others. In study, we do not seek to ape the ways of any saint, sage or seer, but rather to find inspiration and guidance in our quest to know ourselves. In prayer, we do not seek to petition the Divine with our desires, but to recognize outwardly our ownmost truths. We seek to create a sacred space in our life that is always there to remind us of our true face. Surrounded by flowers, fruit, incense, tea and light we remember and make ceremony of the fact that we are Mother Earth, we are suffering and forgiveness, we are Buddha-nature. Proper prayer is for forgiveness, or out of gratitude for the endless blessings each and every one of us is showered with daily; prayer is for loving- kindness and the sharing of our merits as we follow this spiritual path; and prayer is to ask the Divine, or our higher self, for knowledge of the Divine will and the power to carry it out. We ask that the Divine will, not our own, unfold in our inner connection to the Dao. And having seen this path, we ask for the acceptance and courage to walk it. Tea is prepared with mastery only when it prepares itself. As in life, we must step out of the way and let the current flow through us—the way the tea flows through the pot and cups.
The remaining posts in this series will publish as follows:
Bowl Four: Cleanliness; Purity April 22
Bowl Five: Physical wellbeing; Diet and Movement April 29
Bowl Six: Healing and Community; Work and Service May 6
Bowl Seven: Connection to the Great Nature; Bowl tea May 13
Bowl Eight: Grace and Beauty; Gong fu tea May 20
“Eight Bowls of Life” was written by Wu De and first published by Global Tea Hut in February, 2013. Post image courtesy of Global Tea Hut. Loading image from T Ching archives.