Stories are like living beings. They come in all forms. I enjoy telling and hearing stories that cause a change in the listener’s heart.
I would like to share a few stories that I hope you may enjoy. I will write them as authentically and vulnerably as I can.
So let us begin…
Nearly four years ago my Baba left this earth. I was 20 years old, my little brother was 17 years old, and my little sister was 15 years old. It was a devastating moment in our lives. No one expected it. Our Baba was only 54 years old, and to us, he seemed immortal and unstoppable.
Master Wang serving tea at Medicine Buddha Temple
Before I was able to crawl, my Dad was the love of my life. He was my hero and rock. I grew up calling him Baba. That is Dad in Chinese if you are not familiar with the word. But all the other people in our lives (excluding Mom and other relatives) called my Baba, Master Wang. I really had no idea why, nor did I care much, since to me he was just my Baba.
After losing my Baba, I was drawn to learning more about his community. Who was Baba? Why was he given the name Master Wang? What was he teaching his community and why did they want to learn from him? All these questions bubbled up in my mind and heart, yearning for answers that I now had to find on my own.
Master Wang Serving tea at Pureland Tea House
As a kid, I didn’t know much about death. But I also didn't know much about life. The death of my Baba has given me something I never expected. Faith. I’ve started to believe in Mother Nature and the Qi that flows through all of us. I now see my Baba in the hummingbirds that fly around my garden. I believe in the universe and world with my whole soul, spirit, and heart and that has allowed me to believe in myself so fully and deeply.
Four years have flown by. I’m 23 years old now. My sister has moved to Denmark and has been studying there for nearly 3 years now. My brother faced death last year with a brain injury but has bounced back strong. I have done ceremonies, held ceremonies, attended mediations and retreats, and have kept showing up to do the work.
Zen Brick from 1999
One day while holding a Zen Brick, one of the first raw Puers my Baba crafted, I brought my awareness to the Chinese calligraphy printed on the front below the logo. I spent a dozen years living in my Dads village in Yunnan and can speak the language fluently but my reading skills are poor. For some reason, I was curious to know more about what these characters said.
Yuan Wu Ke Qin
I learned that these words were an ancient grassroots adage from Yuan Wu Ke Qin, a famous Chinese monk who wrote poems and koans during the Song Dynasty in 1063.
“Chan Cha Yi Wei.”
“Tea and Zen (life) are one flavor, and there is an inseparable flow between one and the other.”
Beautiful. It all clicked for me. My Dad was never building a tea company or business. This wasn’t about money or status or capitalism. Tea was never a “success” in these aspects. No. This was about preserving wisdom and passing it forward. Tea was his medium for sharing something he thought was very special and valuable to the lives and people of America.
Master Wang harvesting tea with the masterful farmers
Zen and Tea is a cultural bridge connecting Yunnan to the Bay Area and beyond. I have been discovering new places and ideas while exploring and continuing to grow this bridge. Yunnan, with its rich red earth and misty mountains where the farmers and ancient tea trees dwell. The Bay Area with its everchanging culture and open-mindedness. These two pockets of rich and teeming cultures are what I have embarked on connecting, and what is to come out of the mix is beyond anyone's imagination.
So this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sharing this story and the many teachings China and Yunnan have to offer is why I have chosen to continue practicing the tea lifestyle. The mediums we chose to tell these stories and teachings with are infinite. But one thing is certain, change and growth will occur. That is the promise that Puer tea delivers on. Tea and Life are of one flavor. Be a master of tea and with that you also master your life. That is the teaching in a nutshell and that is what I want to bring to the people.
I will end this by sharing a tea story told by the people at TED Talks. I look forward to seeing how this tea story continues to brew and evolve with you all!
Please click the link to watch the story. Thank you for reading this!