I. Rules of Study and Practice
The study and practice of Chadao can rake in a variety of benefits for those involved, ranging from good health, harmonious family, joyful feelings, improved quality of life, to spiritual satisfaction.
Short-term practice can bring about immediate benefits of tea that lead to improved health. Medium-term practice will create the fun of tea, which enhances one’s psychological well-being. Long-term practice generates the greatest benefits of tea, which include spiritual satisfaction and joy and subtle refinement in mindset, personality and moral rectitude. Ultimately, intensive practice ends in understanding or attainment of Tao. To put all that in perspective, short-term practitioners are average people; medium-term practitioners can be called gentlemen; long-term practitioners may count as noblemen; and intensive practitioners amount to saints.
Different people have different attitudes, talents and attachment for Tao practice. As it says in Daodejing, ”Scholars of the highest order diligently puts the Tao into practice as soon as they hear of it Scholars of the middle order may make it or break it as they hear of it Scholars of the lowest order laugh out loud when they hear of it And if the Tao does not get laughed at by them, it would not be fit to be called Tao.” (Daodejing, Chapter 41) Scholars of the highest order practice the Tao diligently because they have the wisdom to know the mysteries of the Tao. Scholars of the middle order tend to go back and forth because they have their doubts about it. Scholars of the lowest order far from the truth of the Tao laugh at it because they have no way of comprehending it. We endorse long-term and diligent Chadao practice because that’s how maximum benefits will be generated. Long-term and intensive practices are preferred, but if those are impossible, medium and short-term practices are still better than no practice at all. The Eight Great Teachings are important approaches for the study and practice of Chadao. The eight steps, representing eight concepts and psychological implications all focus on or concern peopled inner world. Study and practice of these teachings demand full commitment and routine consistency, with each step reflecting the essence of Chadao. The light of wisdom will shine once the heart,mind and action merge into one and the heart slowly quiets down through repeated practice. By practicing the eight teachings for 15-20 minutes once or twice a day, the practitioner will definitely see a lot of spiritual harvests, Confucius said that he had the habit of examining himself three times a day. The Eight Teachings are essentially a leisurely exercise of self-examination and deliberation, It’s a matter of daily buildup.
We propose the following practicing guidelines on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis:
1) Practice the eight teachings daily. We suggest that the practitioner stay away from the computer, TV, the cell phone or other distractions and concentrate on practicing at least once a day. As time goes by, he or she will definitely see changes in personality and spirituality.
2) Have a tea party weekly, during which the host and guests would enjoy tea and communicate with one another on topics such as Chadao and tea culture. Participate in one charity event per month and periodically engage in charitable activities. Show love and care for people.
3) Participate in a forum on Chadao once a year. Take an active part in the annual TAETEA Forum on Tea and a series of related activities.
II. The Importance of Epiphany
Study and practice of the eight teachings cannot take place outside the key guidelines. To master each of the teachings, one has to delve into die depth and finesse of the spirit and values of Chadao aesthetics, such as “cleanliness, peace, rectitude, elegance, integrity, genuineness, benefit, and harmony.”
The study and practice of Tao takes understanding In Zen practice, there is a difference between gradual and sudden understanding. Gradual understanding can be illustrated by the following verses;
“The body is a Bodhi tree, The mind a shiny mirror stand Take pains to clean it frequently, / Lest it gathers dust.”
Sudden understanding can be illustrated by the following verses: “Bodhi does not dwell in a tree, , /Nor does a mirror need any stand at all. / If nothing is truly there, /How can it gather any dust?”
A select few of great wisdom can often attain sudden understanding. Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Zen Sect of Buddhism, for example, was said to have suddenly achieved enlightenment upon hearing someone chant the Diamond Sutra white he was having a hard time selling firewood. And that’s how he came up with the wonderful poem beginning with “Bodhi does not dwell in a tree.”
However, most people come to true understanding only gradually, after repeated practice and perception. Even a distinguished monk like Master Xuyun had to live through all kinds of trials and tribulations before he would reach the point of understanding.
One day, when 50-plus-old Master Xu Yun was meditating, a young monk who was pouring boiled water into his cup spilled some on his hands. The senior monk lost his grip on the cup and dropped it On bearing the shattering of the cup on the floor, Xu Yun came to instant understanding and came out with a gatha:”The cup dropped on the floor, / with a crisp cracking sound. /Vanity broke into pieces, / together with my wanton ambition.” By now, having been through so much in his life, he was finally able to let go of it all. The study and practice of Chadao also takes understanding, and has nothing to do with schooling, status, or identity or nationality. All who love, respect and consistently study and practice Chadao and put its spirit into practice will ultimately come to know its true taste. Generally speaking, people with rich life experiences, artistic pursuits, and of faith tend to be more easily enlightened or touched in the heart, because Chadao is an ideology and methodology concerning the soul.
For TAETEA Chadao professionals, Chadao study and practice are daily routine and compulsory homework. These professionals must be equipped with and use uniform gongfu tea wares, costumes and uniforms specially designed by TAETEA Chadao Academy in their study and practice, That is what we call professional, standardized and specialized Chadao. Let Chadao enter your life and comprehend it in your life,and you will see how it changes your life for the better.