TEDxDaejeon Salon - Ju-Pill - Willing to find the easier way to practice tea ceremony

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 22.01.2012

My motivations for starting a tea gallery goes like this. I'm naturally very lazy.
I sleep a lot during the morning, and wake up late.
So it made me look for jobs that won't tie me down.
It seemed that tea gallery would fit. For me, that is.
First, it looks nice. People seem free.
In fact, I didn't like how people would walk fast, without knowing why they're busy.
And sometimes, it would rain we go to school, leaves falling down,
snow falling down and most of us would think,
I'd like to walk through the snow path that no one has walked on,
I think anybody would've thought of this.
Anyways, when it would snow, rain or when leaves fall down,
maybe it's because I'm a bit more sensitive,
I thought about nature and about myself.
This is probably the direct reason
why I started running a tea gallery as I became an adult.
To grow inside the mainstream society,
we have to be in rivalry relationships and have to constantly compete
but I was afraid of those things.
Rather than those relationships, I was looking for more of a close relationship.
Growing together. Since I'm a lazy person,
I came to a thought such as 'Ah, tea gallery.'
Of course, it hasn't been too long.
It's been about 10 years.
And just because I'm a tea gallery owner,
I don't want people to think that I'm just a owner of a tea gallery,
I wish that the tea I brew
will spread among people and make other interested in tea,
and think about our mother nature.
That is my wish.
As I was speaking, being busy ruins our mind.
We don't even know why we are busy.
So being busy makes a person suffer from an obsession.
Please try to smile.
I can't talk because I'm all frozen.
And speaking of food,
I don't think fast food is a healthy food.
It is good because it's simple and saves us time
while we're on the move
but fast food and the thought that we are busy
drives us to the corner, that's my thought.
Tea, is the representative of slow foods.
It makes us calm, makes us think rationally.
Our ancestors often used the word 'dabansa'
which means, drink tea as frequently as we would eat rice.
It shows that tea was drank quite frequently.
When we look at the records to see when tea was first consumed,
we can see that it was used more for medicine.
There are many theories on origin of tea.
I'd like to introduce a theory where it explains tea came from "Shinnong"
during Three Sovereigns and Five Kings' times.
He was trying to teach people how to grow crops
and ate many different types of plants to find plants that are beneficial to human beings.
He became addicted by eating many plants.
He was looking for an antidote and accidentally chewed on a tea leaf which cured him.
There are many other theories
but most scholars in the tea research field
believes this theory as a widely-accepted theory
and does not try to find other theories on whether China is a suzerain state of tea
or not since China has a tea tree that is 2700 years old.
Now back to the point, as explained earlier,
tea was used for medicine.
It was drank for medicinal purposes.
Drinking tea meant drinking pure nature without any additives.
Now we can think about the concept of life. In the modern days, we human beings are just like the predators,
and predators in the jungle takes what they only need.
Eat what they need.
They do not raise things to eat like human beings.
This is what we need to learn from the animals.
Think about the definition of nature. Close relationships.
Relationships that help each other grow. Only take what we need. Only eat what we need.
I think these are the things that we should think about in the modern days.
When people think of 'tea' they think of 'tea ceremony' too.
They think of tea ceremony as drinking tea
with nice tea tables and fancy tea cups wearing traditional Korean hanbok.
What do you think?
Everyone thinks drinking tea is hard.
You know in the famous comedy program, Hyo-jong Choi says
"It's not hard" no, it's not hard.
Police won't come because we don't know how to drink.
They don't put handcuffs on us.
As I mentioned earlier, think of it as something to benefit your health.
Tea ceremony is not all about wearing fancy clothes
and good tea cups and trying to show off.
Strictly speaking, tea ceremony's definition is spoken
that Korea, China and Japan has the best moral culture.
Let's take a quick look at Japan's tea ceremony.
Japan has gone through more wars than us inside its' country,
shoguns fighting each other to gain supremacy.
If you look at the history,
Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi re-united Japan,
and if you're wondering what tea has got to do with re-unification and Japan's wars,
before the culture of drinking ordinary tea,
Japan's generals and lords would participate in 'Seo-won tea'.
'Seo-won tea' ceremony was influenced from China's Song Dynasty
and it was done to show their power off
and was held in a very big tea room with their fancy tea instruments
to show their wealth and honor in front of many people.
And there were political schemes too.
They would put poison in teas to eliminate their political enemies.
And after that, there came along a person very talented in brewing tea
and his name is 'Sen Rikyu'.
This Sen Rikyu reduced the power of 'Seo-won tea'
which was held to show rich lords' powers in their area
and made 'Cho-am tea'. The main point of 'Cho-am tea'
is everyone who is invited to drink tea is equal.
In our Korean language, it means we are without any badges that show our rankings.
In 'Cho-am tea', we would drink tea as equal human beings,
without any political distrust.
'Cho-am tea' can be expressed in four words, 'hwa-kyung-chung-jeok'.
'Hwa' means cordial. Peace and harmony.
It means that the tea drinking atmosphere has to be peaceful and harmonic.
'Kyung' means that people inside the tea room respects each other.
It stands for respect and affection.
And the next, 'chung' means a specific something that was broken off from something unclean.
It can represent our inner side
and it can be pureness and cleanness for space that was used or being used.
Lastly, 'Jeok' can mean peace but it also means to be prepared with equanimousness
without any movement and these four words,
'hwa-kyung-chung-jeok' represent Japan's tea ceremony.
Now, why did they use the difficult term 'hwa-kyung-chung-jeok'?
It teaches us that no matter where tea ceremony comes from,
it can be drank as food but it is a fruit from the moral culture
and atmosphere where all people are equal and affectionate for each other will be harmonic.
Japan's tea ceremony did not influence our tea ceremony.
Of course, we do share the spirit
but while three Asian countries, Korea, China and Japan's identity on tea culture has come to a standstill,
our country was influenced a little by Japan and China
but our country's identity can be said with the word 'composure'.
Composure could be a hard word.
Maybe composure can be something from no exaggerations, no restraint.
Something broken off from an awkward situation.
A free mind can be composure.
Composure is the natural state of mind from a part of awkwardness.
Anyways, tea is a part of moral culture and tea it good for our health. But it's still hard, right?
Please do not consider tea ceremony difficult.
But, just a second, there are some people wondering
that why this tea ceremony is closely related with Buddhism.
Furthermore, others, who aren't Buddhists, feel uncomfortable about
that tea is too closely connected to Buddhism.”
By the way, the reason why tea is regarded with Buddhism
is that about in 1st century, Buddhism is descended to China,
and 4 centuries later, Dharma, Zen master, went from India to China to propagate Zen Buddhism.
Basically, monks have to clear their minds from disturbed surroundings to achieve spiritual enlightenment
and in that point, tea plays important role to help their minds clear,
get rid of distracting thoughts, and keep them awake.
That is the main reason why tea is very close to Buddhism.
People usually dedicate their precious possession to their important person or religion.
Monks have gotten used to cultivate tea on their own not only for themselves
but also to do 'gong-yang (present something valuables like rice, candle, fruit, or flower to Buddha.)'
Could you now understand why tea is associated with Buddhism?
I just told you about an easy tea ceremony.
Simply there is only one reason why I went into detail about this story.
We call monks’ meal bal-woo gong-yang,
(Buddhist traditional meal with four bowls. It aims to thank everyone who is closely connected with the process of foods from harvesting to the final touch at factory.)
Human beings, for example, religious trainees, enlightened beings or whoever we are,
come to the world with empty hands.
Some people are self-sufficient; others take foods for granted as if they can get them whenever they want.
Bal-woo gong-yang always recommended us to consider food precious.
Considering that something gained from nature,
or that needs to be paid for other people, we could think of 'ha-sim'
(mental attitude which always put our mind at the very bottom and look up the world rather than look down at the top.)
Everything is my mentor. It means world is our place for learning.
Back to my story, when they do bal-woo gong-yang, they simply lay one piece of towel.
They have some food putting minds at the lowest part of mind.
It means that make meals high lowering minds at the same time.
It is same when it comes to the love of Jesus.
He sacrificed himself taking care of human beings as a servant.
I’m not willing to talk about the religion.
I simply want to emphasize that someone who gives us great insight and spiritual enlightenment are always put themselves at the lowest part.
But, why this tradition can be put together with tea ceremony?
We can do the same way when we drink tea making up our mind politely.
Regardless of high and low, when we take a cup of tea,
we don’t have to take our fancy tea sets out and show them off to other people as a means of authority.
We would rather keep humbleness in mind, and that is the fundamental spirit of tea.
I probably put in difficult way,
but I just wanted to let you know about easy tea ceremony with that kind of mind attitude.
From now on, I want to introduce about the tea which I've made at our tea garden, "So San Won."
Basically, "tea" is made of leaves from tea plant.
The scientific name of it is 'Camelia Sinensis.'
Rest of them are generally called 'Dae-Yong Cha',
which means 'tea substitute,' though we have named all of them 'Cha.'
We can only process tea that follows when we only use leaves from tea plants.
For example, there are green tea, puer tea, oelong tea which is favorite for chinese,
and 'tea' for western people.
Anyway, we can also classify tea into 6 categories. White, green, yellow, and black tea.
All of them come from tea leaves.
Daejeon(one of the region in South Korea,) is not suitable place for tee plants in respects of temperature and growing condition.
What I've considered is that we have to think again about environment,
and I've finally got the result of various teas in Daejeon.
It is small part of our nature which is easily forgettable like "dandelion."
It can be "Portulacaceae," "woo-seul, which is one kind of Achyranthes root", or "Sandbur."
I make tea using those kinds of medicinal plants.
The reason is that environment in Daejeon is good place to grow medicinal plants and wild herbs.
It will remain unsolved question whether my story was good or not.
I just want to repeat this; Please do not think tea difficult,
and let's consider that we simply drink tea for our health.
Additionally, taking time with one cup of tea can be a precious moment for us to retrospect our daily life,
and it will help us to control our complex mind and put everything down.
Thank you again!