It is hard to imagine a time when we weren't gathered round this huge monkey-wood table, nestled in on stools all around its many twists and curves, sharing these teas together each month. Though it has been just over a year, it seems we have been friends for lifetimes, sharing these bowls again and again on our stellar earth journey through ancient forests, dusty old cities, huts by great and wizened tea trees, quaint tea houses overlooking rivers poled by long boats and silhouetted fishermen, snowy hermitages with crystalized windowsills as we share one bowl back and forth, and now sitting here on many continents looking out at so many vistas. The bowl may have changed, but the same tea flows strong, even now...
Talking with a fellow tea lover and dear brother recently, we came to a very important conclusion: that no matter what lineage we find ourselves in, no matter what our brewing methodology or which teacher(s) we have studied under, all tea lineages start and end in the those old trees in Yunnan - the source of all Cha Dao. Whether you find yourself whisking tea in Japan, brewing gong fu or bowl style, with our without formality, all our wisdom ultimately stems from those old trees in that forest South of the Clouds. In our tradition, we include Nature as one of the four source pillars of this lineage, paying homage to the natural lineage of trees that are the precursor for any and all human uses of tea, whether as beverage, hobby, art or as a Way. In that way, we also pay respect to all the other lineages, recognizing our mutual love for tea as a gift from Nature.
It is staggering to think of how much human energy has been devoted to this sacred plant over hundreds and hundreds of generations. Whole villages farmed tea for thirty generations; whilst others devoted every waking moment to making one kind of teaware - one of many! And out of all that tea shared these many thousands of years, and all the ways and means that it has been shared from generation to generation, we get to Global Tea Hut - one pinnacle of this ancient mountain range. Sharing tea with spirit, between old friends and around the world without moving. "The sage needn't travel, for out her window (or in her bowl) she is connected to the whole of the world."
Global Tea Hut has become such an incredible tea movement in this world: connecting tea lovers from more than twenty countries, creating a global community we all can reach out to. Wouldn't you host a fellow GTH member to stay with you and share some tea? You know we would! And GTH has also become a great vehicle for connecting small, organic tea producers to the world. Many have expressed great pride in the fact that you are all enjoying their tea, and that it is reaching so many places around the world. Many of you have also expressed that GTH has been instrumental to your tea education, both through these newsletters and the array of amazing teas we have toured through as the months have passed. After about six months, more and more of you reported to us that you have begun sharing these teas with friends and guests, expanding GTH's reach. It is so inspirational to wonder about all the people drinking these teas each month, and all the amazing things they are doing in the world - making chocolate, writing music, painting, instigating vast economic change and many other beautiful works. And these magical teas are in all that work as well.
This year, we hope that you all can participate more in this whole process by visiting our center in Taiwan, contributing feedback or writing articles for these newsletters; or perhaps you would like to be the Teawayfarer one month. Some of you may have some kind of gift you could share with the community, like this month's mind-blowing chocolate! Or like others, share this tea with a group. If you serve tea, you will learn way more about tea and you will also grow as well. Maybe you could go onto our forums and share what you think of these teas, and introduce yourself to the community. The more we all reach out, even just a little, and participate in this experience, the better it will be for all of us!