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Saturday,October 24,2020
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Tea and Buddhism
 Do you know the monk Dharma's tale? A long time ago, he practiced meditation while facing a wall for 9 years. During the meditation, he wouldn't sleep, so, he felt seriously tired. Then his eyebrows fell out on the ground. As a result, his eyebrows grew up as a tree. Dharma chewed its leaves, then he could keep a clean spirit and continued the meditation. People say it is the origin of tea.
  Have you ever visited a monk's room? If you visit one, you will see a tea set. Or you may have seen many media images of monks drinking tea.
  It seems that tea is related to Buddhism deeply.
  First of all, tea makes the spirit fresh. Tea contains caffeine, which helps to combat fatigue. And, it helps to create a good circumstance when talking with a stranger.
  But the most important reason is that having tea adds to one's inner resources. Though you are very hot, you will find yourself calmed by drinking it. We experience tranquility through tea.
  Monk Lyo Kyung, manager at Simujang which sells Buddhist goods at Dongguk University, told a story which illustrates the effect of tea. A few years ago, she held Buddhism lectures for children. At first it was hard to control them. She tried many methods; however, they were in vain. Finally, she decided to hold a tea ceremony.
  "During the ceremony, they were calm and stillness. They kept their composure the whole time."
  Such composure was mentioned by the Buddha. He said that calmness (靜) could co-exist with activity (動). In other words, we understand calmness or activity as being relative. And he called "motion amid rest (靜中動)," perpetually unmoved in the mind while constantly moving with the world.
  Nowadays many people, especially Koreans, live in a flurry of activity. They don't have any time for rest. People just exist in motion (動). If the activity is just for earning more money, we are missing many important things. The Buddha says to us: "Don't hurry up, take it easy."
  We are always hearing about forms of "Well-being" in the media. Well-being is one of the most influential life-style. To live this style, many people meditate, do yoga, and enjoy tea. But before taking tea, why don't you think about the meaning of calmness (靜)?

Seo Yong-guen  komet99@dongguk.edu

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