Experiencing means the tea master tastes the tea before the guests after it is brewed. This seemingly simple act has special implications because essence of Chadao is to benefit oneself as well as others and to give priority to others. The host needs to taste the tea and serve it only if it tastes and smells good If bad, and even the host finds it bad, then it should not be served at all. If the tea is poorly made, the host is better off starting all over than serving the compromised tea. The proof of the tea is in the tasting. The tea host, will not know the ins and outs or strengths and weaknesses of the tea without first tatting it. Chadao is an art of practice, and the tea host, as an eternal practitioner and explorer, should know the pros and cons of the tea about to be served before actually serving it.
Soup for the Soul
Confucius made the famous remark that “one should not do to others what one does not want others do to oneself” (The Analects: Yan Yuan). This means we should put ourselves in other peopled shoes and try to understand and treat them from their perspectives. Simply put, it means nome other than understanding, caring for and empathizing others. The core meaning of the remark is “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and the heart of that is anti-self-neighbor. Knowing how to respect people, think for people and care for people is an important symbol of a person’s maturing. Lao Tzu said that what caused great calamity to him was none other than his own body. In other words, the ego is the curse of each and every person in the world, Each person is an independent being who sees, perceives and understands the world from the perspective of him or herself and based on his or her own likes and dislikes and interests.
From birth to adulthood, our ego is always expanding. What one person’s ego is after and what it fears most of losing or failing to obtain is exactly what another person’s ego goes after. Therefore, exceeding preoccupation with oneself and neglect of other peopled feelings are the root of suffering, and such suffering is not just something persona, but afflicts other people as well. People who knowingly make or sell dyed bread, dirty cooking oil, and fruits and vegetables with excessive pesticide residues will not themselves partake of any of them, but they keep feeding other people with them. Those guilty of the above-mentioned acts are all violators of the basic principle of “not doing to others what one would not have them do to oneself.” Centered on self-interests, those are individuals who profit themselves at the cost of others, even to the point of committing crimes. Experiences in life are just like experiences in tea drinking. Everybody enjoys drinking good tea, and no one should share with others what he himself loathes. Conversely, one should not share drinks that the sharer does not drink. That way, people would naturally enjoy tea in peace, joy and harmony, and that’s what “cherishing tea and loving humanity is all about.”