Does tea have Buddha nature? Enjoying Last Thoughts I venture to say yes. Opening the wrapper one can easily see the tree in the leaves. One handles it with care, as if it were the baby Buddha itself, mindful of the countless hours and tremendous effort that went into acquiring the material, pressing it and packaging it with care, the time, energy and resources needed to make the purchase and receive it half way around the world. At $439 a cake one handles it with mindfulness and attention to every leaf, measuring and preparing it with as much skillfulness as possible. The heartbeat accelerates and the spirits lift in anticipation as the water heats. As the gaiwan fills with water one senses great purity and is moved to drink the rinse in a rare moment of freedom from habitual behavior. Each drop a precious resource to be savored and protected.
Holding the warm cup one is already elevated and the nose drinks first, enjoying the smell. With each sip the warmth spreads, the senses focus in sharpened clarity – mind and body are one in the precious present moment. An elemental awareness arises: fire, water, earth and air, separate selves transcended in each drop of the soup.
In the half empty cup one discerns the arising and ceasing to be of all phenomena. The interconnectedness. As the cup empties the heart fills with warmth and gratitude for the effort of countless beings and generations of care that went into this. Notions of here and there, known or unknown are transcended; one feels a kinship and closeness with the hands that created this.
After a few steeps… the mind quieted in the rising tide of cha qi, a direct visceral experience. The cup, now empty of tea, perhaps full of my last thoughts?
Why did the Buddha continue to meditate after full and universal enlightenment? Maybe because it felt so good… time for another pour. Peace.