In the Northern hemisphere, today is officially the first day of autumn. For many of us, this means cooler weather, warmer colors. Also, many of us are finishing up our fresh green teas while slowly turning towards the heartier darker ones! When the weather cools, things tend to slow down. Nature gradually becomes barer and streets more silent. What better a time to slow our pace and practice Zen while enjoying our favorite autumn tea?
Zen is a sect of Buddhism. However, it is more. Zen is a practice, a state of being, it is wisdom. It is hard to call Zen a religion as it has no dogma, no set of rules. In Zen, everything is equal, every moment is equally important. In truth, Zen is hard to define, and its interpretation varies with the individual. A more correct question would be, what is Zen for you?
How is tea and Zen related?
Beyond the aesthetic principles of Zen, tea has actually been tied up with this spiritual practice since its very origin. The first people to domesticate and promote tea culture in China were Buddhist monks, who would grow the camelia sinensis tea bushes around the temples. Or, in some cases, build temples where there was an abundance of wild tea bushes and a pleasant atmosphere for their growth.
When it was Japan’s turn to savor the abundant properties of the tea leaf, it was indeed Buddhist monks who pilgrimaged to China and brought the tea back, enchanted by its exceptional qualities.
The 4 Principals of Zen
- no doctrine or scripture
- direct verbal or non-verbal communication between teacher and student
- leads to the heart of a person
- reveals the truth of nature as it is
In this way, Zen teachings have always been passed down through various practices. For example, meditation, poetry, calligraphy, and tea ceremony.
When thinking of Zen, everything is in its right place, just where it should be. When meditating, we quiet our minds and still our actions. In the tea ceremony, there is nothing extra. Movements are smooth and precise. It is no wonder that the tea ceremony gradually and gracefully came from the Zen mindset. We believe that practicing meditation can deepen your connection with tea, and possibly help you discover something new. Read more: Practicing Mindfulness In Simple Tea Meditation.
When choosing a good tea for meditation, think of a tea that would have good qi, or energy. Not only does a tea with cha qi help us stay awake and alert, but it also helps move our own energy within our bodies. When this happens, it is not uncommon to feel healthier, happier, and more productive. Just what we all need in this chilly autumn weather!
Zen emphasizes living in the moment. The mind always being present and aware. The moment, the now, is always relevant. It is always enough, it is always perfect.
Depending on where you live, some may enjoy the cooler breeze and the bounty of autumn colors. While others may dread it. Either way, the best thing to do is to be in the moment. To understand that the moment is fleating. In this way, why not enjoy some tea that would fit right into the present?
Our Top Picks For Fall Time Tea
In general, we think that robust black teas, dark oolongs, ripe pu-erh, and Japanese roasted green tea Hojicha is perfect for the autumn time. The following, however, are some of our top picks these season:
Autumn Tea Tasting Notes:
roasted, smoky, sweet, citrusy, apples, spices, cookies, caramel, sweet potato, chocolate, woody, earthy.
The possibilities are endless, and everyone has their own flavor and aroma profile that they go to when the weather gets a bit cozier. Which notes do you look for in your autumn teas? Or perhaps you go entirely off the effect the tea has on you? Share with us in the comment section!