Finishing in The TAETEA System of Chadao Practice

Finishing in The TAETEA System of Chadao Practice
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Finishing in The TAETEA System of Chadao Practice

Essential doctrine

The last of the eight teachings is finishing, the step where the tea master puts everything away and gets done with the entire process.

Finishing has three implications:

1) Finishing means the end: All things have a beginning and an end. By this stage, the tea brewing and appreciation procedure is basically over. What’s gone is gone, and now it’s time to let the bygones be bygones.

2) Finishing means putting things away: We need to pay attention to every detail and stay organized, focused, and conscientious all the way through. We need to clean up all tea wares, put them back in order and properly handle the finishing touch just as we do with the beginning.

3) Finishing means a new beginning: Now is the time to let the bygones be bygones and get ready for a new start. We have to first empty our hands before taking up something else,and free up our minds to absorb something new. Similarly, we have to put away our gongfu teacups in order to gain a deeper understanding of Chadao.

Soup for the Soul

Knowing when to stop denotes great wisdom, Excessive fat strains the heart; excessive wealth drags down the soul; and excessive pursuit or ambition overburdens life itself A mature, sober, and wise person knows what to give up and when to stop.

Tea master and poet-monk Jiao Ran who came to understand the quintessence of Chadao said: “Drink it once,and it washes away stupor and ushers in a world of clarity. Drink it twice, and it refreshes the spirit and cleanses it of dust. Drink it thrice, and one attains the Tao and frees oneself of all sorrow.” The teaching of finishing tells us directly that since life is a brief candle, we have to learn to finish and take it easy in order to enjoy life to the full.

“A wise person lets things take their own course; a foolish man yokes himself.” Everything in the world has a way of change based on divine plans, but we tend to try in vain to take firm hold of it to prevent its change. “Greed is a bottomless pit,” as the saying goes. People easily get disoriented in their journey of life as they seek things of the world. Since ancient times, people have been thirsting for money, sex and power, and this lust has been swelling in their hearts like a billowing river. Precisely became of that, people often lose big things for the small and even do things they regret for the rest of their lives. A lot of people have lost big for their greed. We first have to learn to let go before we can have a free hand to take and obtain what we really need.

Let’s look at a Buddhist story. When Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, a Brahmin came to worship him with a big flower in each hand. “Put it down,” Buddha said in a loud voice. The Brahmin obeyed and put down the flower in his left hand. “Put it down,” Buddha said again. The Brahmin obeyed and put down the flower in his right hand as well. “Put it down,” Buddha repeated the command one more time. “I am all done, and nothing is left in my hands. Why do you keep issuing the same instruction?” The baffled Brahmin asked. “It’s not the flowers that I wanted you to put down, but the lust of your six organs, six senses, and six cognitive abilities. Only when you put down all these things can you expect to be delivered from the cycle of reincarnation,” Buddha replied. Putting everything down means being completely free, and putting it all down right away is to be free right away.

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