Our tea life isn’t just about a greater connection to Nature through the Leaf, but an attunement with our self as well. We must therefore cultivate both inner and outer harmony, a flow from the absolute into the relative. We learn this flow through the practice of gong fu tea, refining our sensitivity and grace as we prepare finer and finer tea over time. We must spend adequate time doing exercises to refine our palates, our sensitivity to tea and its Qi as well as some academic study of tea and spiritual matters both, in order to re- fine our intellects as well. We should be able to articulate tea and spiritual matters, and feel comfortable doing so.Eight bowls 3 A mastery of tea includes a grace with all kinds of teaware, preparation, discussion and presentation. We should know dry leaves by appearance and smell and be able to prepare them with a grace and beauty that transcends the ordinary. We should strive to brew the tea the way it wants to be brewed, recognizing its inner nature and becoming a graceful part of that flow. We should also develop our aesthetic sensibilities, in recognition that beauty comes from the Divine; and that it significantly affects our ability to transform others through tea as well. A beautiful tea arrangement aids in one’s transformation. All of this refinement should temper our spirits and teach us how to live in grace.

This is the final post in the series “Eight Bowls of Life.”

Click to read Bowl OneBowl Two, Bowl Three, Bowl FourBowl Five, Bowl Six, and Bowl Seven.

“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.