Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, April 9, 2010

Drinking Tea Mindfully

I have taken up the practice of mindfulness meditation, something I've been trying to do more or less for the last...let's say ten years. I'm reading Thich Nhat Hanh's The Miracle of Mindfulness.
Thich Nhat Hanh keeps mentioning cups of tea. Of course, mindfulness is about more than drinking tea, one should be mindful and aware no matter what one is doing, yet this habit of Thich Nhat Hanh's can't help but endear his book to me and make me want to meditate more. While drinking tea. I find it difficult to be unhappy, or as Buddhists say, to have afflicted emotions, while drinking a hot cup of fragrant tea.

In short, I'm going to record all (or most) of the references to tea. Let's begin with Chapter One.

Anyone can wash [dishes] in a hurry, then sit down and enjoy a cup of tea afterwards....I usually wash the dishes after we've finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else....If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not 'washing the dishes to wash the dishes....' If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands.

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