Chapter 8: To Be Rightly Tuned
So he tore out his eyelids and his eyelashes and threw them so that now there was no way to close his eyes. And the story is that out of those eyelids, those pieces of skin, and the eye-lashes, the first tea plant grew.
This is a beautiful story: it simply says one thing, that tea can keep you awake. It will not allow you and your eyes to close.
Buddhists drink tea with religious ritual. In Japan, they have tea ceremonies. Tea is not an ordinary thing for them, because it keeps you awake, it gives you energy to remain more alert. They have made a very prayerful, graceful ritual out of it: the tea ceremony. In each Zen monastery there is a separate tea temple, the most beautiful place - maybe surrounded by a lake, rocks, sand, trees. And when you go into the temple, you have to go in a certain manner, in a certain posture you have to sit there, and it takes hours.
The tea will be prepared, the samovar will start humming, and all will be sitting in silence listening to the humming of the samovar. And slowly the flavor of the tea will reach your nostrils, and you have to drink that too. And then the tea is served - with great grace, with great beauty, art. And the tea is served in beautiful cups, handmade with great love and care. And then everybody starts sipping the tea. And it is done very prayerfully and everybody remains silent, no gossiping, no chattering - as if there is nobody. Then they bow down to each other with great respect, and disperse without saying a word.
In one country, tea is so religious, so spiritual, and in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram it was a sin. It depends. These are all human ideas. You should not be worried about these things.
My message is simple: live alert, and live spontaneously, and live totally, and forget all about the Last Judgment Day. I recognize you today, and that’s enough. Today is enough unto itself.
Enough for today.