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Tea & Zen: One Flavor

Tea and Zen have a long history together. In fact, some people attribute them both to Bodhidharma! (Though tea, like Taiji, is attributed to a lot of people.) There is a nice saying for their relationship:

tea chá
Zen Buddhism, Zen meditation chán
one, an
flavor, taste wèi

There are so many tastes of tea. Are they all the taste of Zen? We can ask the same question of Zen. Chinese Zen, Japanese Zen, Korean Zen, Vietnamese Zen — not to mention the varied lineages within those countries — there are many Zens. Do they all taste of tea? In China and Japan, at least, the teas really do support an approach to Zen. Japanese greens have a direct, almost bracing quality; good oolong is deliciously tolerant of oversteeping, almost to a fault; the greens of China reward care in brewing with a mild, mellow sweetness. I invite commentary tying pu`er to Zen…

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