The atmosphere of the tea ceremony:
plum flowers and winter chrysanthemums,
flowers fallen to the ground and yellow leaves,
green bamboo, dry trees,
the frost of the dawn.
This is the description that the founder of the tea ceremony, Senno Rikyu,
provides to describe the hall of the Zen monasteries where the event took place.
Actually, in the Eastern tradition, tea and Zen Buddhism are strictly linked with
each other. A legend tells that Bodhidharma - who brought Zen from India to China -
kept meditation sitting for over nine years, in a cave near Shaolin.
In order to avoid to fall asleep, he cut his eyelids; in the point in which
he threw them away, a tea plant grew up. Despite the crudness of this image, such
a legend reminds us how much tea helps to keep vigilance, an essential condition of
Zen meditation. For this reason, still now in the Zen monasteries and centers in the
whole world, serving and drinking tea in silence and full awareness is part of the practice.